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Peekskill's First Hebrew Congregation Names First Woman Rabbi

Dana Z. Bogatz
Dana Z. Bogatz Photo Credit: Provided

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- First Hebrew is one of northern Westchester’s oldest congregations and for the first time in its nearly 120-year history, it will have a woman rabbi.

The Peekskill synagogue will install Dana Z. Bogatz as its religious leader on Aug. 18, says Board President Marc Intrilligator.

Bogatz will succeed Rabbi Lee Paskind, who is retiring after seven years with the congregation.

While serving in Connecticut, Bogatz was known for her openness and accessibility. Passionate about pastoral care, she says she is compelled to be “present and available” to people and families in need.

Bogatz was the first person in that state to establish a “Death Café,” a discussion group where people can openly talk about death, said Chuck Newman, who led the search committee. She has also set herself apart with her “wicked sense of humor,” according to one of her Connecticut congregants.

Praising the “dedicated and hard-working volunteers” at First Hebrew, “Rabbi Dana” said the synagogue “has a tradition of social action and compassion which extends well beyond the Jewish community.”

Newman, who is First Hebrew’s incoming board president, said that “many Jews in the lower Hudson Valley are looking for a sense of community.”

Noting First Hebrew’s “wonderful and strong core membership,” Newman said that “once unaffiliated Jews in our area meet Rabbi Dana, I believe they will want to connect with her and with our vibrant Jewish community.”

The congregation also draws members from Yorktown, Croton, Cortlandt and Putnam County. It is at 1821 East Main St., Peekskill, N.Y.

For more information, or to meet Bogatz, visit First Hebrew’s Facebook page or go to its website, www.firsthebrew.org . You can also email First Hebrew at fhc@firsthebrew.org, or call (914) 739-0500.

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