For the first-time in its 156-year history, Congregation Adath Jeshurun welcomed a female spiritual leader when Rabbi Rachel Kobrin joined the pulpit on August 1, 2014. She is the first female rabbi in the Philadelphia area to lead such a large congregation.
Rabbi Kobrin comes to AJ from Congregation Agudas Achim, in Austin, TX, where she had served as an assistant and associate rabbi since 2009. Rabbi Kobrin becomes just the fifth rabbi in AJ's history and takes over for Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom, who retired on June 30, 2014, after 36 years at AJ.
"After an exhaustive international search, the rabbi search committee has chosen a dynamic, innovative new spiritual leader for AJ," said synagogue president Anne Fassler. "I am so proud to be part of AJ at this exciting time and look forward to the next chapter in our history. Rabbi Kobrin brings an excitement for the future, a love of Judaism, and a passion for building relationships that will serve us well as we continue our mission of being an open, welcoming shul for all generations."
The 560-family synagogue in Elkins Park, PA, which is affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, began its search process for a new rabbi in June 2012. The search culminated with the unanimous selection of Rabbi Kobrin by the rabbi search committee.
A native of Rochester, NY, Rabbi Kobrin attended the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA. At Ziegler, she received her rabbinic ordination and Master of Arts in Rabbinic Studies, as well as the USCJ award for congregational leadership in 2009. Rabbi Kobrin is active in many aspects of Jewish life and Jewish thought, including as a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and a contributing writer for MyJewishlearning.com, huffingtonpost.com, and PopJewish.com, among other publications and websites.
During her time in Austin, Rabbi Kobrin was the founding rabbi for the Selah—a vibrant satellite community of Congregation Agudas Achim. Selah reached over 800 Jews, both affiliated and unaffiliated, and connected them with the broader congregational vision of dynamic and engaged spirituality. Rabbi Kobrin received three competitive grants and the Jewish Community Association of Austin 2013 Award for her outreach efforts. She also established the Selah School (religious school) with two classes of 25 students. In addition, at Congregation Agudas Achim she spearheaded the Shabbat morning Kol Zimrah minyan, highlighting the melodies of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and the Shir Shabbat family service. Rabbi Kobrin has a passion for serving people of all ages and bringing the joy and meaning of our 3,500-year-old tradition to the modern world.
Rabbi Kobrin, her husband Rabbi Rick Brody, and their two children have relocated to Elkins Park. Rabbi Brody was recently named the Director of Jewish Life at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA.