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Naamah Kelman

The descendent of ten generations of esteemed rabbis, Naamah Kelman has honored her heritage by becoming the first woman rabbi ordained in Israel. Kelman immigrated to Israel in 1976 and immersed herself in Jewish education, becoming coordinator of the Florence Melton Adult Mini School at Hebrew University and developing NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) programs in Israel for American teenagers. After her ordination in 1992 at Hebrew Union College’s Jerusalem campus, Kelman served as director of educational initiatives at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion from 1997–2003 and created Beit Midrash: The Liberal Yeshivah, as well as the Pedagogic Center for Early Childhood Education. She directed HUC’s Year in Israel Program for four years and cofounded the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counselling in 2005. In 2009 she became the first female dean of HUC’s Jerusalem campus, and she has used her position not only to help guide the next generation of rabbis but to strengthen HUC’s relationships with seminaries in Germany and England.


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Rabbi Naamah Kelman, photo courtesy of Rabbi Kelman.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Naamah Kelman." (Viewed on December 8, 2023) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/kelman-naamah>.


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