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May 16: The First Asian-American Cantor and Rabbi

May 17, 2013

buchdahlAngela Warnick Buchdahl, born in South Korea in 1972, became the first Asian-American in the world to be ordained as a cantor on this date in 1999. Two years later, she became the first Asian-American in North America to be ordained as a rabbi. Her mother was a Korean Buddhist, her father an American Jew, and she was raised in the Reform synagogue movement and ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Buchdahl is the senior cantor at Central Synagogue in New York. She has served on the board of the Jewish Multiracial Network (JMN), an organization dedicated to creating a community of support for multiracial Jews and Jewish families. To see her singing Kol Nidrei, look below.

“In today’s day and age, we are all Jews by choice.” —Rabbi Angela Buchdahl