The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Lila Kagedan

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Lila Kagedan until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photo of Rabbi Lila Kagedan, courtesy of Rabbi Kagedan.

The first Orthodox woman to claim the title of Rabbi, Lila Kagedan has worked to make Jewish learning accessible to all. Kagedan earned a BA and an MEd from the University of Toronto before earning a master’s degree in theology and ethics at Harvard. She has taught bioethics at New York Medical College and served as a chaplain and clinical ethicist in several other hospitals and hospices. She was also the founding director of Sulam Brookline, a non-denominational, Hebrew-immersive after-school program that teaches Jewish children about their history and faith. In 2015 she was ordained by Yeshivat Maharat, an Orthodox yeshiva that trains women as clergy and allows them to choose their own titles, due to ongoing debate in the Orthodox community over whether women can serve as rabbis. Two years later, Kagedan spoke at the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Conference about her experience working for change within a Jewish, feminist context. She served as senior rabbi at the Walnut Street Synagogue in Chelsea, MA, from 2016 to 2020 while continuing her work as director of Sulam. Upon leaving her post at the Walnut Street Synagogue, Kagedan joined the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America as an instructor. As of 2023, she is a member of the Hartman Institute’s Ethics research team and is involved with Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikvah. 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lila Kagedan." (Viewed on September 25, 2023) <>.


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