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Barbara Penzner

Rabbi Barbara Penzner has been a moral force for her congregation, leading it in multiple actions to uphold human rights around the world and in the local community. Penzner graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1978 and earned a master’s degree in religion from Temple University in 1984. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1987, and became president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association in 1996. In 1995 she became the rabbi of Temple Hillel B’nai Torah in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, where she has led the congregation in celebrating Human Rights Day and committing to social action. Alongside her congregational work, she has been active in the Boston Jewish community through her work as a board member of the Mayyim Hayyim mikveh, a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, and as co-chair of the Jewish Labor Committee. In 2009 she led 200 clergy in protesting the Hyatt hotel chain’s mass firing of housekeepers at their Boston-area hotels, and she has worked to get supermarkets to sign pledges not to buy produce from farms with abusive working conditions.

More on: Labor, Rabbis, Ritual
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Place of Birth
New York, New York

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Barbara Penzner." (Viewed on December 11, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/penzner-barbara>.

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