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Beth Jacob Congregation Hires Its First Assistant Rabbi

When Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman starts at the Mendota Heights Jewish temple later this week, Beth Jacob will be the only Conservative congregation in the Twin Cities with a woman as a pulpit rabbi.

Editor's note: The following is a press release from Beth Jacob Congregation.

Later this week, Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman will become the first assistant rabbi in the history of Beth Jacob Congregation, returning to the community of her youth to work closely with the congregation’s rabbi, Rabbi Morris J. Allen, its director of congregational learning, Rabbi Lynn C. Liberman, and lay leaders. With Rabbi Kippley-Ogman’s arrival, Beth Jacob will be the only Conservative congregation in the Twin Cities with a woman as a pulpit rabbi.

“It is a tremendous honor to return to serve the community that made me who I am,” Rabbi Kippley-Ogman said. “Beth Jacob is my model for what a Jewish community can be. This is a community of people living a vibrant and ever-growing Judaism, taking responsibility for their religious lives and for one another, and sharing in the work of bringing about a just world as an integral part of the spiritual life of the community.”

Rabbi Kippley-Ogman received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts, and holds an A.B. degree in History and Science from Harvard College. For the past two years she served as assistant rabbi at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, a prominent Conservative synagogue in the heart of the Boston area. There she launched an award-winning kabbalat Shabbat—KICKS (KI’s Community Kabbalat Shabbat)—which drew over 60 people each week for soulful, lively intergenerational services and monthly dinners. 

Her work at Kehillath Israel also included empowering congregants to lead Shabbat morning and daily services, forming new partnerships with local organizations to create richer programming for the entire community, and bringing a personalized approach to lifecycle events. During her rabbinic training, Rabbi Kippley-Ogman provided pastoral care to patients and families as a chaplain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, served as High Holy Days rabbinic advisor to the Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis, worked as a community organizer in Chicago with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, provided rabbinic support to eight isolated congregations during a summer with the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, and spent two years in Jerusalem. 

Rabbi Allen, who has served as Beth Jacob’s first rabbi since 1986, is excited to welcome Rabbi Kippley-Ogman back to the congregation as its first assistant rabbi. “Rabbi Kippley-Ogman will bring her passion, her wisdom and insight, and her love of all things Jewish to our community,” he said. “Her success at Kehillath Israel provides us a wonderful glimpse of what we can expect from her work here at our shul.”

Rabbi Kippley-Ogman returns to Minnesota with her husband, Benj Kamm, and their infant son, Otto. They share passions for biking and hiking, organic vegetables, folk singing and piyut (the diverse tradition of Jewish poetry as sung across the Jewish world), and building community. Benj is a systems analyst at Health Leads. The family will live in Mendota Heights.

The Wifely Person November 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Welcome home, Emma! It's amazing to have one of our own kids come back as our new assistant rabbi.

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