'It Wasn't How I Imagined a Rabbi': Meet the New Leader of Reform Judaism in Israel

As she replaces Rabbi Gilad Kariv at the helm of the Reform movement in Israel, Anna Kislanski is looking to capitalize on a unique political opportunity created by the eclectic new government in Jerusalem

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Anna Kislanski. Aiming for the "low-hanging fruit' initially as head of the Reform movement in Israel.
Anna Kislanski. Aiming for the "low-hanging fruit' initially as head of the Reform movement in Israel.
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

Anna Kislanski was well into her twenties before she laid eyes on a Reform rabbi. And it was quite a shock when she did. “Here was this guy who kept his kippa in his pocket and walked around in shorts and sandals,” she recounts. “It was not at all how I imagined a rabbi.”

That her first exposure to a Reform rabbi would be so late in life should come as no surprise. After all, Kislanski was born in communist Russia five decades ago to a family she describes as “extremely secular.”

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