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Inauguration of Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.

On October 26, 2014, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, ’99, was inaugurated as the first woman president of both a seminary, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), and a major Jewish movement, Jewish Reconstructionist Communities. The ceremony took place at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Waxman began by chanting a verse from the book of Exodus and addressed the standing-room-only audience on the theme of redemption—both individual and collective. Contrasting the miraculous redemption from slavery in ancient Egypt with post-enlightenment thinking, she explored how modern Jews can embrace modernity and still maintain a religious perspective. “Reconstructionist Jews don’t seek to resolve that tension between the miraculous and modern,” she said, “We revel in it.”

Watch Waxman’s inaugural address.

Watch more videos from inauguration.

See some of the press coverage of inauguration.

Read the event program, including the Rabbi Waxman's vision statement.

A special work of art will be given to Rabbi Waxman to commemorate this joyous occasion. Have your name inscribed on this artwork by contributing $180 or more.