In 1935, Regina Jonas made history when she became the world’s first female rabbi. On Nov. 16th, JFilm and the University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program will celebrate her amazing life with a documentary screening.
Directed by Diana Groo, Regina tells the story of Regina Jonas (1902-1944), whose greatest dream was to become a rabbi. But a woman could not be a rabbi according to the laws of Jewish religion. Regina chose a calling she must struggle to attain within her own religious community and moreover in a historical period where one was lucky not to be branded as a Jew. She finds a liberal rabbi who will ordain her and hopes that henceforth she will have a place in the synagogues. But she doesn’t. It is perhaps fate’s irony that she officially receives her synagogue commissions when most of her rabbi colleagues are emigrating or being arrested. At age 37, she met the love of her life, Rabbi Josef Norden. Both of them were deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp. Only their love letters survived the Holocaust.