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New rabbi to lead Hillel's Conservative services

September 25th, 2008

In previous years, Conservative Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services at the Hillel Foundation University of Wisconsin were led by rabbinical students from the Jewish Theological Seminary. This year Hillel is pleased to announce that Rabbi Rebecca Ben-Gideon will lead the services.

A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Harvard University, Rabbi Ben-Gideon’s interests include gender and religion, the study of Talmud and interfaith relations. She has taught throughout the Washington, D.C., area.

She was an adjunct professor at George Mason University, where she offered courses on Jewish life and thought. She served on the faculty of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, where she taught theology and ethics in a variety of synagogue and community settings. She was also a frequent guest lecturer in communities throughout Northern Virginia.

She has led Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services in a variety of communities, including Virginia, Pennsylvania and Cape Cod. She recently moved to Madison with husband, Rabbi Joshua Ben-Gideon, the new spiritual leader of Beth Israel Center, and their three children.

Rabbi Ben-Gideon also will work with Hillel throughout the year to offer opportunities for Jewish learning and for spirited Shabbat morning davening.
Singing, student participation, and opportunities for reflection will characterize the services.

“Everyone feels connected to the holidays in different ways. For some it’s the tunes, for others the foods of the season, for others it’s the opportunity to contemplate and pray in the presence of community that is important,” said Rabbi Ben-Gideon. “We hope to have a service that is full of tradition and spirit, and which also feels accessible to all.”