Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson
Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson is President-Elect of The Wexner Foundation. She will assume the role of President on October 1, 2011. Since 2006 she served as Vice-President, Leadership Programs and was responsible for the programs, policies, and strategic planning for this major component of the Foundation's activities.
Rabbi Abrahamson has been closely involved with The Wexner Foundation for many years. For close to a decade she served as a member of the fellowship's faculty and served on the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Committee. She was the Director of the Graduate Fellowship Program prior to assuming her current role.
Rabbi Abrahamson was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with high distinction, with a BS degree in secondary education. She spent the early years of her career creating curriculum for Religious Schools and Informal Jewish Educational settings, particularly Jewish camping. Rabbi Abrahamson received her Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, (HUC-JIR) Los Angeles, in 1983 and was ordained at HUC-JIR, New York, in 1985. She has been invited to return as Alumna-in-Residence at both campuses. She was the assistant, associate and interim rabbi at Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo, CA for several years. With her husband, Rabbi Martin (Misha) Zinkow, she served as co-senior rabbi at Mount Zion Temple, one of fifteen Reform and Conservative congregations participating as a pilot site for Synagogue 2000, a program in synagogue transformation. She has played a key leadership role in the Women's Rabbinic Network, co-chairing two of its conventions and now serves as the WRN's Conference Consultant. In addition she was selected to participate in "The Conversation", 2008, a dialogue between 65 American Jews who are leaders in their respective fields to talk about the future of Jewish life in this country and what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. Rabbi Abrahamson travelled to Muchucuxcah, Mexica where she served as Scholar-in-Residence for the 2009 Rabbinic School Delegation [RSD] for the American Jewish World Service. She has taught and lectured widely on issues surrounding work/life balance challenges and leadership styles for Jewish professionals.
She has been published in magazines and journals including Moment, Shma and the CCAR Journal. Rabbi Abrahamson received the Bernard Reisman Award as the outstanding member of the professional Jewish community. In 2010, she was named one of the 50 most influential women rabbis in North America.
Rabbi Abrahamson has served on the CCAR's Executive Board, Contracts Committee, and Ethics Committee. A member of the Clinical Faculty of HUC-JIR, she also served on its Board of Governors. Her husband, Rabbi Misha Zinkow serves as senior rabbi at Temple Israel in Columbus where Rabbi Abrahamson offers frequent classes. They are the parents of four young adults ranging in age from 18 - 25 years of age.