ISHAH: THE RABBI IS A WOMAN is a beautifully constructed documentary celebrating
women, spirituality, ritual, and leadership."
-Alice Elliott, Academy Award nominated director
KOL ISHAH: THE RABBI IS A WOMAN weaves together like a tapestry the versatility of four women rabbis, who were trained within different Jewish denominations in the United States: Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, the non-denominational Academy for Jewish Religion and the Jewish Renewal Movement.
Moments of vibrant lifecycle ceremonies, officiated by Rabbi Chava Koster in New York, are interwoven with stories shared by Rabbi Laura Geller, about the waves of Jewish Feminism in the USA and her own experience as a woman. In the early 1970's, Laura Geller was one of the first women to be ordained as rabbi in the United States; she is now the leader of a large Reform Congregation in Los Angeles. Intertwined are scenes of Talmud scholar Judith Hauptman's long journey to fulfill and follow her dream of becoming a rabbi on the eve of her 60th birthday in New York.
Later on in the film, the window into the world of women rabbis opens wider and provides a glimpse into the work of Elisa Klapheck, one of the first women rabbis in Germany. Rabbi Elisa Klapheck remembers very movingly Regina Jonas, the world's first woman rabbi ever, who worked as rabbi in Berlin from 1935 until her deportation to Auschwitz in 1944, where she was murdered a few months later.
Rabbi Elisa Klapheck is the rabbi of the Egalitarian Minyan in Frankfurt am Main, and additionally, for several years she was also the rabbi at the liberal synagogue in Amsterdam.
In a visionary movie scene, the women rabbis in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and New York are singing and dancing together.