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News > Alumni Events and News > FHS Alumnae Visit Jewish Society

FHS Alumnae Visit Jewish Society

Pupils visited Jewish Society where Rabbi Alexandra Wright and Rabbi Deborah Blausten, both former pupils, talked about life as rabbis

On the 8th November at Jewish Society, we had the privilege of being visited by two female rabbis. Rabbi Alexandra Wright and Rabbi Deborah Blausten both went to FHS, and they talked to us about what it was like to train for the rabbinate as women, overcoming the experiences of sexism that came with that and ultimately, how rewarding it is to be a rabbi. 

Both rabbis spoke poignantly about being one of very few Jewish girls at FHS, and how valuable it was to be surrounded by peers from other faiths, especially Christianity. Rabbi Deborah explained that, coming from a Jewish family that was not particularly immersed in Judaism, and being taken to church services frequently at school made her curious about how Jews might interpret sermons or biblical texts. After being fully convinced as a young girl that she was going to become a doctor, she soon realised that this wasn’t the position for her – she definitely didn’t like blood, and there was something that stirred her much more powerfully than the idea of medical school: exploring her faith. She had a change of heart, and decided to study for the rabbinate after discovering that there were two ‘polished corners’ who had also gone on to become rabbis. 

Rabbi Alexandra spoke to us about what it was like to be one of very few women training for the rabbinate. She explained how women wore all black and kept their heads down, so as not to be noticed. Rabbi Deborah also spoke to us about experiences she faced when studying the Talmud (rabbinic commentary on all Jewish law) with many other young Jews aspiring to become rabbis. After struggling with how to overcome differences with angry peers who continuously put down her ideas, her teacher said this to her: ‘Either they are right and you are wrong, or they are wrong, but you don’t know why.’ This prompted her to travel to Jerusalem to study more independently, and she then became a rabbi in the UK. 

Rabbi Deborah and Rabbi Alexandra are part of an all-female team at their synagogues. It was incredibly inspiring to hear them talk about how they lift each other up in times of hardship, and how everyone can get more involved in their faith through so many different ways even if your family isn’t particularly religious. These ways include joining youth movements, listening to podcasts and even listening to other young people on social media platforms such as TikTok! We felt so grateful to have been able to listen to the two rabbis speak so passionately about their positions and why they love being Jewish. 

By Eden M, Upper Fifth

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