Reconstructionist Judaism has a new leader. For the first time, she is a woman — and a lesbian.
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In fact, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, who will take the reins of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the newly merged seminary and congregational apparatus of the Reconstructionist movement, is the first woman to ever head a Jewish congregational organization. She is also the first gay rabbi to take on such a senior leadership position.
“It has been energizing to know that I will not be marginalized or disqualified from serving the Jewish people,” Waxman, 46, wrote in an email to the Forward. “I deeply appreciate—and have richly benefited from—the Reconstructionist movement’s vanguard work on inclusion, and hope to continue it as president.”
The future of the Reconstructionist movement, the smallest of the major strands of American Judaism with about 100 congregations, has been uncertain since Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, Waxman’s predecessor, announced he was stepping down as head of RRC in February.