Sweden names first female rabbi

Sweden's first woman rabbi has been chosen to run one of three synagogues in Stockholm, the Jewish Community in the Swedish capital said Tuesday.

“We did not make our choice based on gender. After the interviews, she came across as the best of all the candidates,” Jewish Community spokesman Thomas Bab told AFP.

Chava Koster, 46, outshined around a dozen other candidates to become the first woman offered the position as rabbi in Sweden, which counts some 10,000 Jews out of a population of nine million people.

Koster, who has headed up a New York Reform synagogue and is expected to begin working at the progressive Large Synagogue in Stockholm at the beginning of next year, could however be barred from carrying out certain rituals due to her sex.

“We are currently discussing these questions,” Bab said, pointing out that there was also a male rabbi in Stockholm for those members of the Jewish community who for some reason or other were opposed to a woman leading the congregation.

Unlike Orthodox Judaism, which considers women unable to become rabbis, Progressive Judaism holds men and women equal in all respects.