Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Rabbi Wechterman came to the RRA as Executive Director in the fall of 2015. She has brought a commitment to social justice, a passion for interfaith and inter-communal partnership and a deep respect and love for her Reconstructionist colleagues to the position.
Rabbi Wechterman created the RRA's Office of Rabbinic Career Development in an effort to serve the professional needs of rabbis in any field of work. She has also spearheaded a revised communications strategy and a renewed partnership with the RRC/JRC and other arms of the Reconstructionist movement. Rabbi Wechterman also teaches Pulpit Supervision at RRC and serves as an informal advisor to many students.
Rabbi Wechterman was a founding faculty member of Camp JRF in the Poconos (now called Camp Havaya) and served on their summer faculty for many years.
Before coming to the RRA, Rabbi Wechterman served as spiritual leader of Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro, Massachusetts from 2001 to June of 2014. Additionally, she has taught at the college and adult level in many settings and worked broadly with children and families with special needs to create inclusive communities for Jews of all abilities and backgrounds.
Prior to serving a pulpit, Rabbi Wechterman was the or Director of Congregational Services at the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and consulted with congregations throughout the movement on governance, growth, staffing and other congregational issues.
A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Wechterman brings an open and inclusive approach to teaching Jewish life and traditions. She is committed to empowering Jews and fellow travelers on their individual and unique Jewish journeys.
During her tenure at Congregation Agudas Achim, Rabbi Wechterman has pursued a number of continuing education and rabbinic growth opportunities and was a member of the second cohort of START PEER (Program for Excellence and Education in the Rabbinate). She is also a graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinic training program and received the Hassenfeld Award for Jewish Service from the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island for her leadership work in providing social services in the context of Jewish community. In 2014, Rabbi Wechterman traveled to India with the American Jewish World Service as part of a rabbinic delegation building social justice partnerships.
In Massachusetts, Rabbi Wechterman was active in interfaith work in the community, serving on the board of the Attleboro Area Council of Churches and participating in the monthly Interfaith Dialogues. She is a founding member of GAIN, the Greater Attleboro Interfaith Network, which works on fair an just policing in the Attleboro area. She was a regular participant in discussion forums, interfaith services and other programs that bring people together.
Rabbi Wechterman holds a BA in International Relations and BS in Journalism from Boston University. She lives in Abington, PA with her husband David Nerenberg and is the parent of two children, Avi and Sharon.
Program and Communications Associate
Effective August 27, 2018, Rosa Kalish is the RRA's programming and communications associate. In 2017 Rosa graduated from Reed College in Portland, OR where her studies focused on gender, identity, and community. Growing up in a Reconstructionist congregation, Rosa has deep ties to the movement and is passionate about supporting progressive Jewish spaces. Rosa lives in South Philadelphia with her best friend Madelaine.
Rabbi Elisa Goldberg
Director, Office of Rabbinic Career Development
Rabbi Elisa Goldberg directed Chaplaincy Services at Jewish Family and Children's Service (JFCS) for fourteen years where she dedicated herself to creating an inclusive Jewish community that provided for the spiritual needs of the underserved; including the poor, ill and institutionalized. Rabbi Elisa conceptualized and developed JFCS' LGBTQ Initiative and chaired several community-wide conferences on Jewish Women. She led all aspects of the chaplaincy program, including finances and operations, supervision of the many professional, volunteer, and para-chaplains, spiritual counseling of individuals and groups, and the creation of a unique rabbinic internship in community-based chaplaincy.
Rabbi Elisa was the first woman to serve as President of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia and led the revitalization of the organization. Rabbi Elisa is also a member of the Religious Leader's Council of Philadelphia, which includes the leadership of over thirty religious communities. She authored a guidebook on spirituality and recovery with Drexel University and consults with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities on the integration of spiritually informed care. She has also served as an interim and part-time rabbi at several different congregations.
For Rabbi Elisa, the most sacred moments occur in the encounter with another person – teaching Torah, building sacred community, and bringing healing to the world. She has honed the art of pastoral presence through 1600 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education, fourteen years as a Spiritual Director and hundreds of holy moments at the side of another. As she moves through the world encountering both the magnificence of creation and the human ability to emerge from darkness, Rabbi Elisa often finds herself echoing the words of the Torah: "Ma Nora Ha Makom Hazeh (How wondrous is this place)."
Rabbi Elisa shares her home with her partner Steve and daughter Jesse.
Sharon Presser has been serving as the Office Administrator since 2005. Prior to joining the RRA staff, Sharon worked with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in areas of fundraising and development. A third generation Philadelphian, Sharon is the mother of three adult children, two grandchildren, Micah and Sophie, and is married to Chuck Presser.