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Female rabbi to lead liberal Reform branch

NEW YORK (AP) — California's Janet Marder has been chosen the first woman to lead the rabbis in Judaism's liberal Reform branch.

As president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis beginning today, she leads an organization of 1,800 members, 377 of them women.

The Reform branch has ordained women rabbis since 1972; today, half of those studying to become Reform rabbis are female.

Marder has led Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Calif., since 1999. Nearly 1,300 families belong to the Silicon Valley congregation near Stanford University.