Deborah Waxman, PH.D.
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., a historian of American Judaism, is the first woman rabbi to head a Jewish congregational union and lead a Jewish seminary. As a leader of Reconstructionist Judaism, Waxman suggests that the movement, which emphasizes relevance and pluralism, offers a way toward meaning and connection for Jewish people in the 21st century. ″Being Jewish is, I believe, ultimately about drawing on a framework that is at once age-old and ever-changing to find ways of being most human, and being most connected to other people, Jews and non-Jews alike. I am honored to travel the country meeting with people who are inquisitive, committed to building community, and open to being transformed,″ Waxman says. Since 1999, Waxman has been an administrator at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College near Philadelphia, most recently as vice president for governance, where her expertise in strategic planning and fundraising led to major gifts from national foundations. As of last January, in her new role as president, she has led the recently restructured RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities as a combined organization that trains Jewish leaders and also provides services to congregations. Waxman continues to teach and publish in academic journals. Among her many academic honors is the prestigious Ruth Fein Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society. -KL
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