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NEW YORK (AP) – Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, who leads a small congregation in suburban Chicago, will become the second woman to head the rabbinical assembly of Judaism’s liberal Reform movement.
Dreyfus, 57, is to be installed as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis on Feb. 28 in Jerusalem and will begin her tenure in Israel. The group represents nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis.
Since 1998, Dreyfus has served as rabbi of B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom in Homewood, Ill. She said in a statement that one of her priorities will be reaching out to younger Jews.
“Many of them are very involved in religion and their Jewish lives but do not belong to congregations,” she said. “Some are involved in their own groups and online communities. We need to embrace and adapt to this young generation, as they are potentially the future of the Reform movement.”
Three of the four main U.S. rabbinical associations will be led by women when Dreyfus begins her tenure.
In October, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld was named executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Toba Spitzer, the first openly gay or lesbian person to head a rabbinical assembly, became president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association in 2007.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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