This first appeared in the July 2020 edition of our monthly newsletter. View the archives »
Rabbi Batsheva Appel is a native of Seattle and the rainy Pacific Northwest. She graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences and Economics and entered the corporate world, first working in a research laboratory and then in sales and marketing. Rabbi Appel was an active layperson 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 and was ordained from the New York campus of HUC-JIR.
After graduating from Hebrew Union College in 1996, she spent an additional 6 years studying the Midrash in Doctoral Level courses at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She is a trained Mussar facilitator, and was a part of the national faculty for teaching an “Introduction to Judaism”, as an online offering from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). She is certified as an Interim Rabbi after attending training by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) in the Fundamentals in Transitional Rabbinic Work.
Rabbi Appel has served a number of congregations as their Rabbi since 1996, including serving as Director of Rabbinic Services for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, located in Jackson Mississippi (we currently use their curriculum for our religious school).
Rabbi Appel wrote the chapter on how eating locally is a Jewish choice in the book The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic. She also enjoys reading, walking, swimming, knitting, cooking, and baking.
Rabbi Appel’s self-characterization notes that she is “passionate about community, especially diversity. She values relationships with people of all backgrounds and is empathetic, warm, and a compassionate listener. She is a compelling preacher and teacher who believes in the transformative power and spiritual connections of Jewish learning for all ages. She is highly collaborative, with the unique perspective as first an active synagogue board member and now an experienced Rabbi. She is also leveraging the innovative possibilities of technology, yet still uses a fountain pen.”
Rabbi 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.”