Temple Judea, one of Miami’s largest reform congregations, has named Rabbi Judith L. Siegal as senior rabbi elect.
Rabbi Siegal, who has been the assistant rabbi at Temple Judea since 2006, is the first female rabbi in the synagogue’s 65-year history to serve as senior rabbi. She officially assumes her position on July 1.
“Rabbi Judith Siegal embodies those values that truly make Temple Judea a warm and welcoming congregation,” said Barry Schwartz, president of Temple Judea. “In addition to her intelligence, vision, integrity and caring attitude, she has a personal spirituality and warmth has made her the object of well-deserved love and reverence from our congregation for the past seven years.”
Building upon Temple Judea’s strong foundation, Rabbi Siegal’s vision is to create a modern day “kehila kedosha” or sacred community. This vision entails positioning the synagogue as a place to study, pray, collaborate and help others to connect socially, celebrate life-cycle events and create meaningful Jewish experiences at every stage of life.
Rabbi Siegal enjoys teaching students of all ages from preschoolers in the Margaux Early Childhood School and their families, to adult Torah study groups, new adult Hebrew students and religious school students of various grade levels. She is involved in programming, creating and leading worship services, holiday celebrations and life-cycle events throughout the synagogue community.
“Temple Judea is a truly special place that has become our family’s spiritual home because of the warmth we found here,” Rabbi Siegal said. “Through teaching Torah, leading prayer and building community, my goal is to work in partnership with Temple Judea’s lay leadership, inspire others to become more conscious of how we live our lives and develop a greater concern for the world and our role in changing it for the better.”
Active in Jewish communal life, Rabbi Siegal is on the board of the South Dade Greater Miami Jewish Federation, is the immediate past cochair of the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews Interfaith Clergy Dialogue, is a Fellow for the Jewish Outreach Institute’s Big Tent Judaism Professional Affiliates and is a member of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami. She also is a past board member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Originally from New Orleans, Rabbi Siegal was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York with a master’s in Hebrew Literature. She also has a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin.
Now celebrating 65 years of Jewish Learning and Living in Coral Gables, Temple Judea is one of the largest Reform synagogues in Miami with more than 600 member families. Temple Judea’s mission is to enrich member’s ever-more complicated lives with the new insights of ancient Jewish heritage. For more information, visit online at <www.judeagables.org>.