2023-2024/5784 WRN Board
Rabbi Emily Segal, Co-President
Rabbi Emily Segal is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Chai in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously she served as the Rabbi of the Aspen Jewish Congregation in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado and as the Associate Rabbi of Temple Jeremiah in the suburbs of Chicago. Rabbi Segal grew up in a small, tight-knit Jewish community in Virginia, nurtured by one of the first women rabbis, and she is the proud product of an interfaith home. After graduating from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!), her studies continued at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where she was ordained in Cincinnati in 2010. Rabbi Segal’s rabbinic thesis was entitled “Telling and Retelling: The Women’s Seder and Ritual Innovation.”
During her time in the rabbinate, Rabbi Segal is proud to have been a Balfour Brickner Social Justice Fellow, as well as a Clergy Leadership Incubator Fellow, focusing on leading dynamic change in congregations and organizations. Rabbi Segal is a member of several professional organizations including the Central Conference for American Rabbis and the Phoenix Board of Rabbis. The Women’s Rabbinic Network has been an integral and cherished part of her rabbinate since her ordination.
Rabbi Segal’s rabbinic interests include Jewish environmental and food justice, liturgical development, ritual innovation, biblical Hebrew, Jewish feminism, and scriptural and halakhic study. Her non-rabbinic interests include strong coffee, dark chocolate, good books, escapist baking, and live music. She is married to Rabbi Scott Segal. You can find them cooking together, dragging their children on character-building hiking expeditions, and having family dance parties.
Rabbi Beth Klafter, Co-President
Rabbi Beth H. Klafter became the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth David in Commack, NY in 2013. She brings her passion for Judaism and her knowledge and experiences to the entire congregation. Prior to being named Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Klafter served for seven years as the Director of the Religious School. In that role, she revised and reinvigorated the education curriculum and programming for students in Kindergarten through High School and their families. Rabbi Klafter has helped to develop and lead activities for the youngest children in our Temple family. Prior to her current position, she was the Rabbi Educator at Temple Judea in Manhasset, NY and Associate Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Roslyn, NY.
Rabbi Klafter was ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1988, where she received a Masters in Religious Education as well as a Masters in Hebrew Letters. She studied at New York University’s School of Education and Brown University where she earned her B.A. in Religious Studies. She was awarded the title of Reform Jewish Educator by the National Association of Temple Educators (now ARJE) in 1992. In 2013 , Rabbi Klafter received her Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, from Hebrew Union College honoring her 25 years in the Rabbinate.
Rabbi Klafter is a member of several professional organizations: the Central Conference of American Rabbis, where she has served on its Rabbinic Rapid Response Team, Committee on Women in the Rabbinate, and Committee on the Rabbi’s Family; Association of Reform Jewish Educators. She served on the board of the WRN, as New York regional representative and treasurer over twenty years. During the time she was on the Convention planning committees for the 2001 Convention on Long Island and the 2003 Convention in London. She returned to the Board as co-VP of National Events to co-lead the Convention planning for our “Journey to 50” Convention and welcomes the honor to become co-President during this historic time.
Rabbi Glynis Conyer, Treasurer
Rabbi Glynis Conyer is the Executive Director at Community Synagogue of Rye, NY. Previously, she has held roles such as chief operating officer of a leading provider of international staffing, director of staff development, rabbinic intern, hospice pastoral caregiver and career counselor in the United States and South Africa.
Rabbi Conyer brings to the WRN her experiences as a managing owner of a camp and travel program for kids with special needs, where she recruited, led and managed 180+ international staff members across a range of functional areas, from programming and administration to facilities and IT department. She was also instrumental in developing a $25M budgeting process across 13 URJ camps and transformed a camp with low registration, operating at a significant deficit, into a leadership and training center of excellence with sound financial controls.
Rabbi Conyer received her ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and is proud to be the first South African woman to receive ordination. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Communications at the University of South Africa.
Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin, Secretary
Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin currently serves as the Sr. Manager for Jewish Programs at the One America Movement and as a rabbinic fellow at Temple Micah in Washington D.C. She served as associate rabbi at Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel from 2016-2020. During her time in Charlottesville Rabbi Schmelkin was active in Charlottesville’s interfaith and social justice community. She was an involved member of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, Congregate C’ville, The Women’s Clergy Circle, and the One America Movement. She received Truah’s “Action Under Fire Award,” for her leadership during and after the 2017 Unite the Right Rally.
Rabbi Schmelkin received her bachelor of arts in psychology and Jewish studies from Indiana University at Bloomington with minors in Hebrew and history. She was ordained through Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and was a recipient of the Tisch Rabbinical Fellowship. Rachel is married and has a son, a daughter and a dog.
Rabbi Heather Miller, Membership and Outreach VP
An award-winning spiritual leader and social justice advocate, Rabbi Heather Miller was named the 2018 Giant of Justice by CLUE-LA (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice), appointed Commissioner on the first-ever Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission in 2016, selected as a Jewish Federation Edah Community Leadership Fellow in 2016, and identified as a Leader to Watch by the Liberty Hill Foundation in 2013.
In 2019, Rabbi Miller released her first book, ReSOULutions: A Practical Guide for Self-Repair. Her actions and ideas have been featured in more than 25 publications and media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the Jewish Journal, SoCal Jewish News, The Orange County Register, Orange County Jewish Life Magazine, The New York Times, Sh'ma, Journal, ReformJudaism.org, InterfaithFamily.com, The Christian Science Monitor, the Episcopal News Service, Women Rabbis Talk, Sacred Stories, and The Talk.
She has served as spiritual leader of several congregations across the United States including the world’s first LGBT-founded Jewish synagogue. And, she has designed dynamic and accessible learning programs for four religious schools, the largest pluralistic Jewish Day School in the United States, and the American Jewish University Graduate School of Education.
Born and raised in an interfaith family in Los Angeles, California, Rabbi Miller received her B.A. from Wellesley College (2001) and her M.A. in Hebrew Literature (2007) and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (2008). She is a proud to serve on the board of the Women’s Rabbinic Network as VP of Membership, and as president of the Interfaith Council of Greater Rancho Santa Margarita, as well as member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, and the World Congress of LGBT Jews.
Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum, Communications and Marketing VP
Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum serves as the Associate Rabbi of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio. Previously, Rabbi Muhlbaum served first as Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck in New York. As a student at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Muhlbaum served as the rabbinic intern at Temple Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly, NJ, as well as the student rabbi of United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute, IN, and Mount Sinai Congregation in Texarkana, TX. She was also the Jewish Foundation Fellow and rabbinic intern at Cedar Village Retirement Community in Mason, OH. Additionally, she worked as the Assistant Limud Director at URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where she also visited for four summers as a faculty member.
During her time at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Muhlbaum was the recipient of the Emanuel Green Prize for proficiency in Midrash and Hebrew, the Rabbi Sarah Messinger prize in Leadership, the Be Wise fellowship, and the AIPAC Leffell Israel Fellowship. Since entering the rabbinate, she has found great meaning in participating in the Balfour Brickner Social Justice Fellowship.
An Ohio native, Rabbi Muhlbaum received her bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University (O-H!), where she majored in Hebrew and minored in Sexuality Studies and Linguistics. When she isn’t teaching Torah, praying in community, or schmoozing, you might find her cooking something from an Ottolenghi cookbook or engaging in one of her other hobbies, like photography, knitting, or crochet.
Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum is married to Cantor Vladimir Lapin, and together they are delighted to parent two adorable children and their rambunctious dog, Gus.
Rabbi Rachel Bearman, Networking VP
Rabbi Rachel Bearman is the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Shaare Emeth in St. Louis, MO. Before that, she served as the rabbi of Temple B'nai Chaim in Georgetown, Connecticut for six years. Rabbi Bearman is passionate about helping individuals and families with diverse backgrounds find meaningful and authentic connections to the Jewish tradition. She has been enthusiastic about her membership in the WRN since her ordination, and she very much values the resources, camaraderie, and support that come from belonging to and leading this important organization.
Rabbi Bearman is a native of Memphis, Tennessee- where her family has lived for eight generations-and graduated with honors from Middlebury College. Her hobbies include creating modern midrashim, reading anything and everything, exploring her family's history, and spending time with her fabulous corgi, Vashti.
Rabbi Lisa Delson, Social Action and Advocacy VP
Rabbi Lisa Delson currently serves as Associate Rabbi of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, California. She is a graduate of University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Cincinnati campus in 2009. During her time in rabbinical school, she served as the Religious Action Center’s Commission on Social Action rabbinical student representative. Rabbi Delson also participated in the American Jewish World Service’s Rabbinical Student Delegation to Ghana in 2009. Rabbi Delson has a passion for social justice and believes it is an avenue into Jewish practice and creates meaning in one’s life.
Rabbi Delson previously served as Assistant Rabbi and Program Director at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rabbi Delson is an alumna of the Brickner Social Justice Rabbinic Fellowship and is currently on the leadership team for California’s Religious Action Center. She participates in the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition and is on the board of Shalom Bayit: A Jewish Response to Domestic Violence in the Bay Area. In addition to organizing her own congregation in social justice work, she also serves as the clergy liaison to the PTS preschool and loves teaching Torah to people of all ages. Throughout her rabbinate, the Women’s Rabbinic Network has been a cornerstone of her experience.
She also loves spending time with her family, husband, Brent Pliskow, and three children. They love hiking, playing in the sand in Northern California beaches (wearing sweatshirts of course), playing tennis, golf, and reading all kinds of books.
Rabbi Jennifer Lader, Convention and National Events Co-VP
Rabbi Jen Lader has served on the Temple Israel clergy team in July of 2012, following her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, OH. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Rabbi Jen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from The University of Maryland and a Master of Hebrew Letters degree from HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Lader serves as the ‘youth guru’ at Temple Israel, running all teen-related endeavors and keeping up to date on the latest slang for the benefit of her elder colleagues. From Teen Mission – Metro Detroit’s collaborative summer Israel experience, to alternative spring break trips around the world, to social justice seminars, to leadership initiatives, to youth group retreats, to formal high school programming and informal adventures, Rabbi Lader has crafted an innovative, dynamic, engaging program for our young leaders. She is also a talented member of the musical team at her synagogue.
As a lifelong seeker and learner, Rabbi Lader participated in the CLI Fellowship (Clergy Leadership Incubator), where she focused on supporting and encouraging “outside the box” thinking as it relates to synagogues, alternative models of Jewish spiritual community, and organizational transformation. She is currently an 18Doors Rukin Rabbinic Fellow, learning how to make her rabbinate more radically inclusive to interfaith couples and families, and is the incoming president of the Michigan Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Lader is also a powerful national voice for social justice issues - you can catch her on PBS NewsHour, in the Wall Street Journal, on CNN, on VOX: Today, Explained, and featured in other local and national media.
Rabbi Lader’s Austin heritage has led to her perpetual search for great Mexican food, local music, and street fairs. She is a voracious reader, loves traveling, and makes jewelry in her free time. Rabbi Jen and her husband, Daniel, have two beautiful children, Ezra and Noa.
Rabbi Simone Schicker, Convention and National Events Co-VP
Rabbi Simone Schicker (she/her) is the rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Kalamazoo, Michigan where she has served since her ordination in 2018. A graduate of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio she received her BA with honors from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama.
While at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Schicker was both an AIPAC Leffell Israel Fellow and an iFellow with the iCenter. On campus she served as the rabbinic student body president, the co-chair of the Gender Task Force and was on the Admissions Committee. She served congregations in West Virginia, Michigan, Texas and Iowa as a student, and her favorite placement for the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellowship was her time at the The Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.
Having been raised in an interfaith home, Rabbi Schicker is committed to inclusivity in her rabbinate. She is a member of the third cohort of Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship sponsored by 18Doors. Along with her commitment to 18Doors and interfaith work within the Jewish community, she is proud to have been recognized for her local interfaith work through ISAAC Kalamazoo in 2021 when she was recognized as Clergy of the Year.
Rabbi Schicker also serves on the Board of Friendship Village Kalamazoo, and is the co-chair of Faith Alliance: a program of OutFront Kalamazoo.
Rabbi Schicker lives with her partner and their many furr babies. She is the proud stepmom of three awesome kids.
Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf, CCAR Representative
Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf received Ordination from HUC-JIR (NY) in 2004. She has been the rabbi of Port Jewish Center, a small, haimish synagogue in Port Washington, NY, since July of 2014. Prior to coming to PJC, Rabbi Mendelson served Temple Israel in Westport, CT as its Assistant Rabbi, then Associate Rabbi for almost a decade. Rabbi Mendelson grew up in Scarsdale, NY. She is a 1993 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating Fordham University Law School in 1997, Rabbi Mendelson worked as a matrimonial attorney in Manhattan before deciding to pursue the rabbinate. Rabbi Mendelson has been an active member of the CCAR and of the Women’s Rabbinic Network. She previously served on the WRN board for 12 years, including four years as co-president. She is the co-editor of The Sacred Calling: Forty Years of Women in the Rabbinate, published by CCAR Press and winner of the 2016 Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies, and wrote a chapter called “Getting to the Gold Standard in Maternity Leave Clauses.” Rabbi Mendelson is married to Adam Graf. They have three sons, Gideon, Solomon and Rafi and reside in Port Washington, New York.
Rabbi Kelly Levy, Past President
Rabbi Kelly Levy currently serves as the associate rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, TX. She previously served as the assistant and associate rabbi of Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester, NY. She was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2014 and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas Tech University in 2007. It’s pretty fair to say she’s the only rabbi who ever attended Texas Tech University.
Rabbi Levy served on the Women’s Rabbinic Network board as the Communications VP, President, and a previous term as Past President. She is happy to come back as the Past President for a second term! She also participates in multiple community and state-level committees, such as the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Clergy Advisory Council, the SACReD Gathering Planning committee and as a member of the Interim Steering Committee, Austin city leader for the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network, the Admissions Committee for the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Pastoral Advisory Committee for Scott & White Hospital, and the Religious Action Center of Texas’ core leadership team.
A born and raised Texan, she loves living in this extremely problematic state with her husband, two children, dog, and cat. She enjoys long walks on the beach that she lives nowhere near, and baking in her free time, whenever that may be.
Rabbi Mary Zamore, Executive Director
Rabbi Zamore brings a great deal of experience and depth of commitment to the WRN, having been a member as a student and since her ordination in 1997 and then serving as a co-president from 2007–2009.
Rabbi Zamore is the editor of The Sacred Exchange: Creating a Jewish Money Ethic, (2019, CCAR Press) and The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic, (2011, CCAR Press), finalist National Jewish Book Awards, and she continues to teach at synagogues and JCCs across the country. Before joining WRN professionally in 2015, Rabbi Zamore served congregations in Westfield, Morristown and Washington, New Jersey. As part of her work with WRN, Rabbi Zamore is the co-leader of the Reform Pay Equity Initiative, which addresses the wage gap within the Reform Movement, and founded our Safe Clergy: Employees and Employers program, which focuses on safety at Jewish Seminaries. Participating in many national #metoo conversations, Rabbi Zamore is able to share WRN's decades of experience and wisdom on creating safe, just, and equitable communities.
Rabbi Elaine Glickman, Assistant Executive Director
Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman is honored and delighted to become the first Assistant Executive Director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network! Serving Temple Emanu-El in Sarasota, Florida, she is a past editor-in-chief of the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, the author of six books, including the National Jewish Book Award finalist Sacred Parenting, and an Affiliated Professor at the University of Haifa. Rabbi Glickman is a board member of ALSO, a support group and community center for LGBTQ+ youth, and the Sarasota chapter of Jewish National Fund, as well as a past president of the Sarasota-Manatee Rabbinic Association, a past executive board member of All Faiths Food Bank, a past trustee of the pluralistic Community Day School, and a member of Sarasota County Schools’ Superintendent Advisory and Charter Review Committees. Her essays on gun violence, sexual assault, and Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law have been published in local and national newspapers, and she volunteers extensively for organizations and political candidates who are committed to equity and justice.
Executive Director Emerita
Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson
Following ordination in 1983, Rabbi Jackie Koch Ellenson worked in a variety of educational positions in synagogue and organizational settings. She served as chaplain of the Harvard Westlake School in Los Angeles from 1991-2002. After serving in various vlunteer leadership capacities for the WRN, in 2003 she became the first WRN Executive Director, working to streamline and professionalize its operations, outreach and activities.
Rabbi Ellenson join the volunteer board of the Hadassah Foundation in 2004, and served as chair from 2006-2010. an active member of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, Jackie served on the board of their school and lead Rosh Hodesh groups for girls. She currently leads text study and Wise Aging groups for adults. Her community work focuses on adult spiritual formation and direction, with students at HUC-JIR, as well as activism on behalf of religous puralism and women's rights in Israel.
In 2011, Rabbi Ellenson was named one of Newsweek/The Daily Beast's 50 most influential rabbis.