The first woman rabbi to head a Jewish congregational union and a Jewish seminary, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., became president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and 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 sphere. Through visiting numerous congregations (more than 50 at last count), making public appearances in person and online, and in writing for regional and national publications, Rabbi Waxman is projecting a vision of Judaism that embraces all peoples and inspires Jews to be strong allies to the most vulnerable among us. Since Rabbi Waxman has assumed her leadership role, RRC/Reconstructing Judaism has undertaken a number of major initiatives, including revising the rabbinical college’s curriculum, building even stronger relationships with congregational leadership, innovating Judaism for the 21st century, bolstering Reconstructionist Judaism’s ties to Israel and opening a second summer camp. Rabbi Waxman has taught courses on Reconstructionist Judaism and practical rabbinics since 2002 at the college, where she is the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Presidential Professor. Waxman is a cum laude graduate of Columbia College, Columbia University, and a recipient of a rabbinical ordination and a master’s degree in Hebrew letters from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1999. She earned a Ph.D. in American Jewish history from Temple University in May 2010.
Rabbi Alex Weissman (RRC ’17) serves as the Rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro, MA and as the Rabbinic Organizer at T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. Previously, Alex served as the senior Jewish educator at Brown RISD Hillel, where he taught Torah and Jewish practice, and fostered creative approaches to Jewish life. While a student at RRC, Alex served as a rabbinic intern with Avodah, piloting a new model of Jewish and spiritual support for young activists. He worked with JOIN for Justice as their Philadelphia Area Coordinator, exploring new opportunities for JOIN. He was also a Social Justice Rabbinic Intern with Congregation Rodeph Shalom and POWER, supporting their multifaith congregation based community organizing, and was a summer fellow with T’ruah. Alex also served two synagogues, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and Temple Shalom of Newton, as a rabbinical intern. Prior to attending rabbinical school, Alex worked at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah as their first Social Justice Coordinator, moving forward campaigns to support LGBTQ homeless youth and LGBTQ eldercare, in addition to creating learning and training opportunities for Jewish clergy to deepen their skills in serving LGBTQ communities. He was in the inaugural cohort of the Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, during which he served as chair of the Sh’lom Bayit: Justice for Domestic Workers campaign and later served as a member of the board of directors. Prior to his work as a community organizer, Alex worked in LGBTQ public health at Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project, Fenway Community Health, and the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training. Alex lives in Providence, R.I., with his partner, Adam, the source of much Alex’s gratitude.