Rabbi Elaine Zecher’s own experiences as a breast cancer survivor have shaped both her career as a congregational rabbi and her work in helping create new rituals to honor both illness and healing. Zecher graduated from Brandeis University in 1983 and was ordained by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988 before becoming the first woman rabbi of Temple Israel in Boston in 1990 and its first senior rabbi in 2016. Alongside her congregational work, Zecher chaired the Worship and Practices Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the professional organization of Reform rabbis, shaping both their weekly and High Holiday prayer books, Mishkan T’fillah and Mishkan HaNefesh. In creating the prayer books, Zecher envisioned an inclusive, holistic religious experience, an “integrated theology” that mirrored the integrated medicine that she had relied on through her illness and that would engage congregants from different backgrounds on both an emotional and spiritual level.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Elaine Zecher." (Viewed on June 17, 2021) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/zecher-elaine>.