Elaine Zecher

b. 1961

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

Rabbi Elaine Zecher, photo courtesy of Rabbi Zecher.

Rabbi Elaine Zecher uses her own experiences of illness and struggle to counsel congregants and craft prayers for Mishkan T’fillah and Mishkan HaNefesh, the prayer books of the Reform Movement. Zecher graduated from Brandeis University in 1983 and was ordained by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988. She briefly served as program director for the Striar JCC in Stoughton, Massachusetts, before becoming the first woman rabbi of Boston’s Temple Israel, the largest Jewish congregation in New England, in 1990. In another first for the congregation, she was promoted to senior rabbi in 2016. During her years as a congregational rabbi, Zecher struggled with breast cancer, an experience that led her to create new rituals to mark illness and healing. Beyond her congregational work, Zecher has held numerous roles within the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the professional organization of Reform rabbis, including vice president for leadership and chair of the Worship and Practices Committee. She also helped shape the CCAR’s weekly prayer book, chaired its Machzor Advisory Group as they revised their High Holiday prayer book, and helped run Synagogue 3000, a program to help synagogues find new ways to connect to congregants emotionally and spiritually. Outside of her spiritual work, Zecher enjoys running marathons. She views running as a way to celebrate her body and victory over breast cancer.  

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Elaine Zecher." (Viewed on May 29, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/zecher-elaine>.