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 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]