New associate rabbi joins Temple Emanu-El

Rabbi Batsheva Appel
Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Temple Emanu-El has appointed Rabbi Batsheva Appel as associate rabbi.

“I’m looking forward to working with a rabbi who I know is very talented,” Appel told the AJP, referring to Temple’s senior rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, “and a community that seems to be doing wonderful things here in Tucson. Certainly I’ve never been in the Southwest before, so that’s kind of an adventure. I’ve just been impressed by Temple Emanu-El, and I’m really looking forward to being here.”

A native of Seattle, Appel has lived in many parts of the United States.

She graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences and economics and entered the corporate world, first working in a research laboratory and then in sales and marketing. Appel was active in her congregation, singing in the choir, taking classes, and serving on the board of directors, when she decided to become a rabbi. She attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. She and Cohon were on the school’s year-in-Israel program together. Appel was ordained from the New York campus of HUC-JIR.

She has served as a sabbatical rabbi, rabbi-educator, interim rabbi, assistant rabbi and associate rabbi in congregations on Long Island, and in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 2006 she was named the director of rabbinic services for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, where she was the rabbi for more than 25 underserved congregations of all denominations in an eight-state area in the South. Appel comes to Temple Emanu-El after serving as the senior rabbi of KAM Isaiah Israel in Chicago for the past four years.

She is involved in interfaith dialogue and was president of Chicago’s venerable Hyde Park-Kenwood Interfaith Council.

Appel wrote a chapter on how eating locally is a Jewish choice in the book “The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic.” She looks forward to checking out local farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture possibilities.

Active in social media, especially Twitter, Appel sees Jewish learning as an ongoing passion and thinks “the best learning is transformative, changing who we are and how we act in the world.”