Rabbi Barbara Penzner has served Temple Hillel B'nai Torah in West Roxbury, MA since 1995. She received the degree of rabbi and a Master of Hebrew Letters from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 1987. She is active in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the national association of Reconstructionist rabbis, and served as its President. She has also served as President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Penzner is active in greater Boston's Jewish community and in interfaith work, including leadership of Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters Mikveh and Education Center in Newton, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Labor Committee.
Rabbi Barbara Penzner has been a moral force for her congregation, leading it in multiple actions to uphold human rights around the world and in the local community. In 2009 she led 200 clergy in protesting the Hyatt hotel chain’s mass firing of housekeepers at their Boston-area hotels, and she has worked to get supermarkets to sign pledges not to buy produce from farms with abusive working conditions. Her writings on topics including Israel-Diaspora relations, mikveh (ritual immersion) as a meaningful ritual for Jews today, and adult Jewish learning have been published in various journals and books.
September 20th, 2019 | Season 2 | 24 mins 52 secs
The holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur call us to deeply individual reflection while embedded and connected with community, and to a humility that nevertheless acknowledges that our choices matter. We speak with Rabbi Barbara Penzner about the spiritual dynamics of the High Holiday days, and their power to help us find discernment, connection and renewal.