Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson is President of The Wexner Foundation. She oversees the Foundation's full range of activities and, in partnership with Foundation chairmen Abigail and Leslie Wexner, imagines how the Foundation might further strengthen and educate Jewish professional and volunteer leaders in North America and public service leaders in the State of Israel. Rabbi Abrahamson has been associated with the Foundation for many years and her tenure as its senior leader has been marked by significant growth within the Foundation including three new leadership initiatives and a growing team of talented Jewish professionals.
A proud member of the Frozen Chosen, Elka, a native Minnesotan, earned her teaching degree from the University of Minnesota and spent the early years of her career creating curriculum for Religious Schools and Informal educational settings, particularly Jewish camps. Her Jewish soul sprang to life at Camp Herzl in Wisconsin and her Jewish leadership blossomed at Camp Swig in Northern California. She is still a camper at heart. Ordained at HUC-JIR, New York, Elka began her career as associate rabbi at Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo, CA and then, with her husband, Rabbi Martin (Misha) Zinkow, served as co-senior rabbi at Mount Zion Temple, in St. Paul, MN.
Rabbi Abrahamson, a dynamic speaker and an engaging teacher is optimistic about the Jewish future owing to the remarkable leaders she encounters in her rabbinate, many of them Wexner Alumni. She is the visiting rabbi for High Holidays at 92Y in New York City and has been a scholar, advisor, or keynote speaker in a wide variety of settings. She is a student and teacher of Mussar, Jewish character building. Elka loves a good football game, especially if the Vikings are winning.
Rabbi Abrahamson has been published in magazines, books, and journals and has received the Bernard Reisman Award as an outstanding member of the professional Jewish community. Newsweek thinks she is one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America. So do her parents.
Opening Plenary: 15 Years After 9/11: The Global Landscape