Rachel Kohl Finegold

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Rachel Kohl Finegold is a clergy member at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal.[1] She is one of the first women to be ordained as a Maharat.[2]

Personal life and education[edit]

She earned a B.A. in Religion from Boston University and graduated from the Drisha Institute's Scholars Circle.[3] She finished her internship at the Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue in Washington D.C.[4] She was a staff member at Camp Nesher in Pennsylvania for a number of years.

She spent six years as Education and Ritual Director at Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel in Chicago, where she held the Dr. Carol Fuchs Kaufman Rabbanit Chair. She was also involved with the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance.

Maharat Kohl Finegold is on Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s Jewish Leadership Advisory Board.[5]

Kohl Finegold is married to Rabbi Avi Finegold with whom she has three children.[6]

Since August 2013, Kohl Finegold has served as the director of education and spiritual enrichment at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, an Orthodox synagogue in Montreal.[7]

Yeshivat Maharat[edit]

In June 2013 Kohl Finegold was one of the first three women to graduate from Yeshiva Maharat, a four-year program in the Bronx to ordain orthodox women as Maharats, spiritual leaders.[2] Because she self-identifies orthodox, she chooses not to be counted in a minyan, serve as a judge on a bet din, or serve in the role of shaliach tzibor.[1]


Kohl Finegold is featured in JOFA’s Mission Statement YouTube video uploaded on November 29 of 2011 saying: “When I’m in a mechitza that’s the balcony and I’m looking down I’m a spectator, doesn’t feel right to me.”[8]

In December 2013 Kohl Finegold attended JOFA’s 8th International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy “It’s For You: Voices For Change” conference and spoke with Ronnie Becher, Dr. Bat-Sheva Marcus, Rabbi Asher Lopatin, and Leah Sarna in the opening plenary “Voices for Change.” [9][10]


On June 20 of 2013 Kohl Finegold published an article entitled "Our Sisters, May We Become Thousands of Myriads: The First Ordination of Yeshivat Maharat" on RavBlog.[11]

In Spring of 2015 Kohl Finegold published an article entitled "The Changing Nature of P’sak in the Twenty-First Century" in The JOFA Journal.[12]

On March 10 of 2014 Kohl Finegold published an article entitled "Fasting for Two: Who Makes the Call?" on The Torch of My Jewish Learning.[13]


  1. ^ a b Bronis, Leeor (December 24, 2013). "The Orthodox Madame Rabbi". Women in the World. The Daily Beast.
  2. ^ a b Maharat is an acronym for "manhigah hilchatit ruchanit Toranit"
  3. ^ Berger, Sarah. "Meet the Maharats: Questions for Rachel Kohl Finegold". Moment.
  4. ^ Arnold, Janice (April 12, 2013). "Montreal Orthodox shul hires first female clergy". The Canadian Jewish News.
  5. ^ "Leadership".
  6. ^ "Rachel Kohl Finegold". 2012 Double Chai in the Chi. Oy!Chicago. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  7. ^ Staff, C. J. N. (2015-04-01). "COVER STORY: 24 Jews who are changing the world". The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  8. ^ "JOFA Mission".
  9. ^ "JOFA 2013 Conference" (PDF).
  10. ^ "JOFA 2013".
  11. ^ "Rav Blog".
  12. ^ Kohl Finegold, Rachel (Spring 2015). "The Changing Nature of P'sak in the Twenty-First Century" (PDF). The JOFA Journal. 13 (1).
  13. ^ "My Jewish Learning".