In 2014, Rabbi Deborah Waxman became the first woman (and first lesbian) to simultaneously lead both a seminary and a congregational organization as head of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Reconstructionisting Judaism Communities. After studying religion at Columbia University, Waxman was ordained by RRC in 1999 and earned a PhD in American Jewish history at Temple University in 2010. She began teaching at RRC in 2002 and published numerous articles on Jewish history and women in Judaism. In 2003 she became Vice President for Governance of RRC and planned the successful overhaul of the organization, merging the congregational arm and the seminary into one organization in 2012. She then became the leader of the new organization in 2014 and has viewed her role as strengthening the Reconstructionist movement and helping promote social justice and inclusion, creating positions for a vice president of community engagement, director of Israel engagement, and Director of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She also hosts the podcast Hashivenu, where she explores the theme of Jewish resilience. Waxman serves on the board of many Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Historical Society’s Academic Council, Repair the World, and JPro. She has written pieces for a variety of news outlets including the Philadelpia Inquirer, the Forward, and HuffPost. In 2016 she was honored as a member of the Forward’s “Forward 50” list. In 2020 she was named as an LGBT icon as part of LGBT history month.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Deborah Waxman." (Viewed on November 30, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/waxman-deborah>.