Elaine Zecher '83 breaks the stained-glass ceiling
When Elaine Zecher’s daughter was a preschooler walking the main hallway of the religious school at Temple Israel of Boston, she used to point at the framed photos of the congregation’s senior rabbis past and present, reciting as she went: “Man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man.”
Last December, when Zecher ’83 called her daughter at college to tell her she had just been named the temple’s first female senior rabbi, the young woman said her refrain would henceforth be forever changed: “Now I get to say, ‘Man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, mom.’”
Zecher tears up reliving this conversation, just as she did during her formal installation as leader of New England’s largest Reform congregation. But becoming senior rabbi was not the first time Zecher broke the stained-glass ceiling. In 1990, she became the congregation’s first female rabbi, a momentous event in the history of the temple, which once counted Brandeis founding president Abram Sachar and many of the university’s early leaders as members.