Rabbi Putterman Joins Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill as Director of Congregational Learning

Rabbi Rachel Putterman. (Photograph courtesy of Matthew Lippman).

Rabbi Rachel Putterman has joined Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill as director of Congregational Learning, beginning July 1.

Putterman will inspire congregants’ connection to Judaism by leading the Temple’s lifelong learning programs, working closely with Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El and the adult education and religious school committees to strengthen educational opportunities for all ages. Putterman will also provide pastoral care to congregants and will lead or co-lead services throughout the year.

Temple president Loren Goldstein said, “We look forward to seeing the educational innovations she will bring to our congregation and her contributions to the spiritual life at Temple Emanu-El.” Scott Hannula, chair of the search committee, added that “Rabbi Rachel impressed us with her ability to genuinely connect with our religious school students and our adult congregants. Hiring Rabbi Rachel for this new role at our Temple reflects the community’s renewed focus on lifelong learning.”

Putterman said, “I hope to share my love of Judaism with the community in a way that resonates with members of all ages and backgrounds. Our tradition has a lot to teach us about contemporary issues, including how to cope during challenging times such as the one we’re living through right now.”

Putterman was ordained by Hebrew College’s pluralistic rabbinical school in Newton, in June 2020. During rabbinical school, she served numerous communities including the Center for Small Town Jewish Life, Bowdoin College Hillel, Beth Israel Congregation in Bath, Maine, and Boston College Hillel. She has also held various positions at the Haddasah-Brandeis Institute, including scholar-in-residence and academic advisor to undergraduate and graduate students who were engaged in research projects related to Judaism and gender. Rabbi Putterman is the creator and director of “All Genders Wrap,” a tutorial video series with a cast of diverse Jews demonstrating how to wrap tefillin, a pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew parchment scrolls on which Biblical verses are written and which are strapped to the arm and head during prayer.

In her prior career as a public interest attorney, Putterman represented domestic violence survivors in their family law cases. She lives in Boston with her husband and two daughters.

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