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MAKERS Profiles Blogger, Orthodox Rabba

Aug 15, 2012

The newest video stories added to document the career paths of a traditional journalist turned blogger and entrepreneur and the first officially ordained "Rabba" in Orthodox Judaism.

Lisa Stone, CEO and co-founder of the award-winning social hub BlogHer, left a traditional journalism career at CNN for the Internet in 1997 and hasn't looked back.

In 2002, she was the first Internet journalist awarded a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University. As Executive Producer and Editor in Chief/VP, Programming, for, Stone was responsible for developing some of the most successful online communities.

In 2005, she and co-founders Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins launched BlogHer, a publishing and social network and annual conference that reaches 37 million women each month. has been on Forbes' Top 100 Websites for Women in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Stone has also been honored as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company and as one of The Most Powerful Moms in Media by Working Mother magazine.

Sara Hurwitz is the first officially ordained "Rabba" in Orthodox Judaism. She's the Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, N.Y., and the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, also in Riverdale. After emigrating with her family from South Africa, she spent her teenage years in Boca Raton, Florida. Her early affinity for religious community life was affirmed when she took a high school vocational test that recommended she join the clergy. At the time, however, Orthodox women were not allowed to serve as rabbis, so she considered the suggestion impossible. Yet Hurwitz's relationship with Judaism continued to grow.

Upon completion of her coursework at Barnard College and then the Drisha Institute, Hurwitz began studying under the Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Over seven years, she received all the training required of a rabbi, learning how to give spiritual guidance, issue legal rulings, and counsel her congregants.

In 2009, Rabbi Weiss officially ordained Hurwitz, giving her the title "Maharat," and later converting it to "Rabba" (a feminized version of rabbi) to more clearly convey her full rabbinic role. While Hurwitz's ordainment caused a fierce backlash from some in the Orthodox community, she maintained her title and her leadership position.

Learn more about Rabbi Weiss by watching this video:

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