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Film about First Woman Rabbi to be Screened at Bergen County YJCC

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 30, 2015

MAHWAH, NJ – Ramapo College’s Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Pascack Valley Jewish Coalition will sponsor a screening of the recently released documentary Regina at the Bergen County YJCC, 605 Pascack Road, Township of Washington, on Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m.

Sally J. Priesand, the first U.S.-ordained woman rabbi, will introduce and lead a discussion of the film. She will draw on her participation in a study mission to Berlin and Terezin which followed in the footsteps and honored the memory of Regina Jonas. Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz is the voice of Regina in this poignant film. Regina Jonas (1902-1944) made history by becoming the first properly ordained woman rabbi in the world.

The event is free and open to the public. To reserve a seat, visit For more information, call 201-666-6610, ext. 5782.

Diana Groós’s poetic documentary tells the story of Regina Jonas, the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish peddler. She grew up in Berlin and studied at the liberal Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (College for the Scientific Study of Judaism) beginning in 1924 and was ordained in 1935. During the Nazi era and the war, her sermons and her unparalleled dedication brought encouragement to the persecuted German Jews. Regina Jonas was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. The only surviving photo of Jonas, showing a determined young woman gazing at the camera with self-confidence, serves as a leitmotif for the film.

“In addition to illuminating extraordinary circumstances surrounding the ordination of the world’s first female rabbi, Regina provides a mesmerizing glimpse of Jewish life in Weimar and Nazi Berlin,” said Michael A. Riff, director of Ramapo College’s Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Rabbi Priesand made history in 1972 when she was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), becoming the first female rabbi in American history. In addition to serving Reform congregations, Rabbi Priesand has been active within the larger Reform movement, serving on the executive boards of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Rabbinic Alumni Association and the Board of Governors of HUC-JIR. Rabbi Priesand retired from Monmouth Reform Temple after 25 years of service to that congregation.

The Pascack Valley Jewish Coalition, a sponsor of the event, is a newly formed alliance committed to strengthening and enhancing Jewish life in the region. Participants include Temple Beth Or (Township of Washington); Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley (Woodcliff Lake); Congregation B’nai Israel (Emerson); Temple Beth Sholom of Pascack Valley (Park Ridge); Bergen County YJCC (Township of Washington).



About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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