In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Women in the Rabbinate, female past presidents at Temple Jeremiah have been asked to reflect on our experiences in leading the congregation and in our lives personally.  

Temple Jeremiah has always been at the forefront of women in leadership positions as rabbis, cantors/soloists, presidents, and Sisterhood. That legacy established the respect, collaboration, and partnership needed for a successful presidency and thriving congregation.

Looking back in the Torah, we can follow the women leaders in our history – Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. As a Jew by choice, I chose Ruth as my Hebrew name, thus beginning my Jewish identity. My experiences in TJ activities allowed me a strong education but also led to my presidency, which only served to enrich my Judaism.   

Parashat Ki Teitzei deals in part with our many choices of how to act and the implication that the more power we have, the more responsibility we have, and the higher the standard to which we will be held. It teaches us how we should interact with others, with nature, and with God – with compassion and social justice. May we embrace this as we enter the High Holy Day season. 

Diana Kaufmann