Rabbi Deborah Waxman

THE FIRST WOMAN RABBI to head a Jewish congregational union and a Jewish seminary, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., became president and chief executive officer of Reconstructing Judaism in 2014. Since then, she has drawn on her training as a rabbi and historian to be the Reconstructionist movement’s leading voice in the public square. Under Rabbi Waxman’s leadership, Reconstructing Judaism has undertaken a number of major initiatives, while building even stronger relationships with affiliated congregational leadership and innovating Judaism for the 21st century. During her tenure, the organization has reimagined its rabbinical training curriculum, bolstered the movement’s ties to Israel, hosted the largest convention in the movement’s history, and launched an online project, Evolve, which enables substantive Jewish learning, models nuanced and respectful discussion, and serves as an incubator for ideas that can positively transform Jewish life. Rabbi Waxman is creator and host of Hashivenu, a popular podcast about resilience and Judaism. Rabbi Waxman has taught courses on Reconstructionist Judaism and practical rabbinics since 2002 at the rabbinical college, where she is the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Presidential Professor. Waxman is a cum laude graduate of Columbia College, Columbia University, and graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She earned a Ph.D. in American Jewish history from Temple University.

Essays

Presidential Inauguration Remarks

At her inauguration as the first woman president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Rabbi Deborah Waxman chants from Exodus and teaches about redemption.

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sunrise over water

On Catastrophe and Renewal

Rabbi Deborah Waxman asks: What does a post-Holocaust progressive Judaism looks like today? By embracing our shared humanity and valuing difference, we can create a version of the Jewish future that calls us to move forward while drawing from the lessons.

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The Reconstructionist Network