Angela Warnick Buchdahl

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Angela Warnick Buchdahl
Born Angela Lee Warnick
1972 (age 41–42) July 08, 1972
Seoul, South Korea
Residence New York City
Education - Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York (ordained cantor 1999, ordained rabbi 2001)
- Yale University (BA in Religious Studies, 1994) [1]
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Rabbi
Known for Rabbi, cantor
Spouse(s) Jacob Buchdahl

Angela Warnick Buchdahl (born Angela Lee Warnick in 1972) is an American rabbi. She is the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a rabbi, and the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a hazzan (cantor) anywhere in the world.[2][3] [4] [5] She is also the first woman to become both a rabbi and a cantor; others had become one or the other, but not both.[6][7]

Early life and career[edit]

Buchdahl was born in Seoul, South Korea.[8] Her mother was a Korean Buddhist and her father, Frederick David Warnick, was an American Ashkenazi Reform Jew, whose ancestors emigrated from Moinești, Romania, to the United States.[9][1] She was raised Jewish, and was ordained as a cantor in 1999, and ordained as a rabbi in 2001,[10] with both ordinations done by HUC-JIR, an American seminary for Reform Judaism.[11]

She appears in the PBS documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre. [12] [13]

Through 2013, she was the senior cantor of the Central Synagogue, a large Reform congregation in Manhattan.[11][10] [14] During her tenure as of 2012, Friday night attendance at the synagogue had doubled, post-bar mitzvah retention had tripled and the waiting list for membership had risen to over 300 (membership is capped at 2,000 families).[15] In 2013, she was named as the Senior Rabbi of the Central Synagogue.[16] [17] She is the first woman and the first Asian-American to be their Senior Rabbi.[18] [19]

She has served as faculty for the Wexner Heritage Foundation and for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Kallot programs, and on the board of the Jewish Multiracial Network.[11][20]

On 1st July 2014, Angela Buchdahl succeeded Peter Rubenstein as Senior Rabbi at Central Synagogue, the first woman and first Asian-American to hold the post in the Synagogue's long history, dating back to the 1800s.

Personal life and ancestry[edit]

She and her husband Jacob Buchdahl live in New York City and have three children, Eli, Rose, and Gabriel.

Her 20th great-grandfather was King Taejo, as she discovered when she was featured in Finding Your Roots, a PBS series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr.[21] She also discovered then that her Romanian great-grandfather, Srul Soss, came by ship to New York in 1899 and lived a few blocks from the current location of Central Synagogue, where she is now rabbi.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Angela Buchdahl", Finding Your Roots—with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS-TV, April 15, 2012
  2. ^ "“Troublemaker” Women Honored, Receive Ivy | auburn". 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  3. ^ "This Week in History - Angela Warnick Buchdahl invested as first Asian-American cantor | Jewish Women's Archive". 1999-05-16. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
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  8. ^ "Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl - the face of the modern Jew". Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  9. ^ Buchdahl, Angela Warnick, "My Personal Story: Kimchee on the Seder Plate", Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility, Published June, 2003. Reprinted March 28, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Our Clergy: Angela Warnick Buchdahl, Senior Cantor", Central Synagogue Web site
  11. ^ a b c "The Sisterhood 50 –". Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
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  20. ^ "Angela Warnick Buchdahl: Our Clergy—About Central—Welcome to Central Synagogue". Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
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Further reading[edit]