Gottlieb entered pulpit life at the age of 23 in 1973, as leader of Temple Beth Or of the Deaf in Queens. In 1981, she became the first woman ordained as a rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement; she was ordained by rabbis Zalman Schachter, Everett Gendler, and Shlomo Carlebach.
In 2007 she was selected as one of The Other Top 50 Rabbis by Letty Cottin Pogrebin. She co-founded congregation Nahalat Shalom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1974, she founded the now-defunct feminist theater troupe Bat Kol.
Gottlieb authored She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism (1995).
A 2013 dissertation from the University of New Mexico's department of anthropology, “Storied Lives in a Living Tradition: Women Rabbis and Jewish Community in 21st Century New Mexico,” by Dr. Miria Kano, discusses Gottlieb and four other female rabbis of New Mexico. 
- "Pioneering rabbi finds deep satisfaction in storytelling, living life...", Albuquerque Journal, January 2, 2000. "Gottlieb, a nationally known storyteller, was the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement and the third generation in her family to found a synagogue.
- Letty Cottin Pogrebin: 50 Top Rabbis, The Washington Post / Newsweek On Faith: A Conversation on Religion with Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn, April 29, 2007. Accessed June 19, 2007.
- / U.S. Rabbi Leads Delegation to Iran, "The Jerusalem Post", April 28, 2008. Accessed May 6, 2008.[dead link]
- / Is BDS the Way to End the Occupation?, "Tikkun Magazine", July/August, 2010. Accessed October, 7 2013.