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Bebe, Pauline


BEBE, PAULINE (1965?– ), French reform rabbi. After studying the English and Hebrew languages in Paris, Pauline Bebe attended the rabbinical seminary at the London-based liberal Leo Baeck College, one of the few rabbinical institutions in Europe welcoming women. She completed her Hebrew cursus in Jerusalem (Hebrew Union College) and earned a degree from the Institut des Langues Orientales in Paris. Her first rabbinical appointments, while a student rabbi, were in Southport and Cardiff. Her academic interests were the attitude of Judaism towards proselytism and conversion and the ethics of language, both themes providing her with the background of a strongly liberal and passionate exploration of the dynamics of Jewish tradition.

Back in France, she became the country's first female rabbi in 1990, serving the mjlf (Mouvement Juif Liberal de France, the most liberal of the two branches of the Reform movement in France at the time), which she left in 1995 to start her own movement, the Communauté Juive Liberale, now embraced by more than 200 families. Her first book, Le judaisme libéral ("Liberal Judaism"), was published in Paris in 1993, followed in 2001 by an ambitious dictionary of women and Judaism (Isha: un dictionnaire des femmes et du judaisme).

[Dror Franck Sullaper (2nd ed.)]

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