Deborah Waxman, center, inaugurated as first woman rabbi to lead Jewish Reconstructionist movement and seminary

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Rabbi Deborah Waxman, the newly inaugurated president of the Reconstructionist movement, says that being Jewish grounds her in tradition, orients her with a sense of wonder and fortifies her to be unafraid of the unknown. “Or if I’m afraid, to venture forth anyway,” she said. “Living a Jewish life gives me the companionship of others on a similar journey.”

Oct. 26 represented a milestone on that journey as Waxman was inaugurated as the first woman president of both a seminary, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), and a major Jewish movement, Jewish Reconstructionist Communities. The ceremony took place at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. As part of the day-long festivities, Waxman and the RRC board of governors welcomed Reconstructionist leaders, rabbis, community members and fellow Reconstructionists from across the country to Philadelphia to witness this unique moment in history. David Roberts of St. Louis, Mo., chair of the RRC board of governors, called Waxman a visionary leader who is uniquely suited to her new role. “Deborah’s passion and keen intellect combine into a leadership style that empowers, educates and energizes those around her,” Robert said. “I can’t imagine a better standard bearer than Deborah to serve as the first female rosh yeshiva [head of a seminary] and head of a movement.”


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