Among a roomful of congregants at Kol Tzedek, debra kimmelman, who spells her name with a lower case “d” and “k,” was reflecting on the legacy of Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, who will soon be leaving the Reconstructionist synagogue she founded a decade ago.
“If you had told my 20-something-year-old self that I would ever be a welcome part of a synagogue as a lesbian” and part of an interfaith family, “I never would have believed it,” said kimmelman, a 47-year-old West Philadelphia resident.
“I remember being a little skeptical because I had never been part of a synagogue,” she said, while attending the synagogue’s end-of-year religious school celebration earlier this month. She, her wife and their daughter “have been a welcome part of the community since Day 1,” she enthused.
That sort of experience is precisely what Grabelle Herrmann had in mind when she started Kol Tzedek a decade ago while still a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote.