At a special congregational meeting on March 14, 2021, Rabbi Meredith F. Kahan was elected as the tenth Senior Rabbi of K.K. Bene Israel/Rockdale Temple, the oldest congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains.
Rabbi Kahan is a lifelong Cincinnatian. She began her Jewish education at Rockdale Temple and was ordained in 2013 on the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). While she was a student, she was Rockdale’s Rabbinic Intern for two years under the mentorship of Rabbi Sigma Faye Coran, z”l. Following her Ordination, Rabbi Kahan has served Rockdale Temple as Assistant Rabbi & Educator, Associate Rabbi & Educator, and has directed the congregation’s worship, music, youth groups, young adult and family outreach, and educational programs. Rabbi Kahan became Acting Senior Rabbi following Rabbi Coran’s untimely death.
Rabbi Kahan is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. She has served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, as the Chair of the Cincinnati Jewish Educators Council, and is currently a member of the steering committee of Cincinnati’s Festival of Faiths. A leader in the Reform Movement, she has served on the faculty of Goldman Union Camp Institute, is a supervisor of The Jewish Foundation Fellows Program at HUC-JIR, and is a member of the Women’s Rabbinic Network. Rabbi Kahan is married to Sean Flowers, and they are proud parents of Seth, Becca, and Sari.
Rabbi Kahan commented, “My vision includes strengthening Rockdale by connecting – reaching outward and inward to community members, meeting them where they are; securing Rockdale’s future by sustaining – building upon our strengths and developing new leaders; and leading Rockdale by transforming – innovating in worship, experimenting in programming and reaching for new heights in education. The greatest privilege of my rabbinate has been building relationships with each person in our community, and I look forward to continuing those holy partnerships into the future. The memories, special moments, and sacred bonds we share will enable me to do the work of connecting, sustaining, and transforming with the trust of our community.”
Abby Schwartz and Aaron Herzig chaired the Search Committee that selected Rabbi Kahan as Rockdale Temple’s Senior Rabbi. “After a rigorous review of candidate applications and interviews, the committee made the unanimous decision that Rabbi Kahan was the right choice for our holy congregation. We were secure in the knowledge that we had looked seriously at other candidates with the goal of finding the best choice for the future of Rockdale Temple,” Schwartz noted. “Rabbi Kahan was vetted among her peers and rose to the top. Not only is she a Jewish scholar with an inspiring vision for the future of our congregation; she has demonstrated compassion, grace, and dignity during a very challenging time following the loss of our beloved Rabbi Sissy Coran. We look forward to her continued leadership,” Herzig added.
According to John G. Cobey, Rockdale Temple’s President, “On behalf of the Board of Directors and following a unanimous vote of the membership, we are pleased to announce and embrace our new Senior Rabbi Meredith Kahan. Rabbi Kahan was raised at Rockdale Temple and now she will lead us as the tenth Senior Rabbi of Rockdale. With her election, we will continue to be blessed with a leading Rabbi, as Rockdale has been blessed with prominent leaders and members throughout its almost 200-year history. We in Cincinnati will continue to benefit from Rabbi Kahan's leadership as we now build for the future.”
As Rockdale Temple makes plans for its Bicentennial anniversary in 2024, Rabbi Kahan will lead the historic congregation as it celebrates 200 years of living Jewish values.