Rabbi Aileen Hollander
Rabbi Aileen Hollander came to Beth Chaim in 2001 as its Educational Director, and in 2002 she was appointed to be its Rabbi. Being a rabbi is a second career for Rabbi Aileen. Now retired from both Rabbi and Educational Director, she continues to enliven our congregation with her presence and guidance.
Rabbi Aileen has always been and inspired teacher. By the time she was 25, she had graduated from Penn State, taught fifth grade in Abington, earned an M.A. from Columbia in education of the hearing impaired, and was a mother to three young children, Lori, Sheri, and Eric. While raising her family she taught deaf children, substituted in local elementary schools, and was program chairman, Sisterhood Shabbat chairman, and vice-president of Temple Sinai Sisterhood.
In 1990 she became an adult Bat Mitzvah. Growing up she had attended an Orthodox Hebrew school and knew Hebrew well, but girls do not have a Bat Mitzvah in the Orthodox tradition. While the adult Bat Mitzvah students were learning to read Hebrew, she learned to read Torah. For several years she read Torah with the morning minyan at Temple Sinai, a large Conservative congregation.
As an avid adult student, she enrolled in Biblical Hebrew at Gratz College. Four courses later, she had won the Hebrew award two years in a row, which led to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Her professor there encouraged her to apply for admission.
In 2000 Rabbi Aileen was ordained, along with an M.A. in Hebrew Letters and certification as a specialist in the congregational rabbinate. In 2001 she completed a year of clinical pastoral education as a chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. More recently she has been blessed with a son-in-law, Erick Trombley, and grandson Jake.
Rabbi Aileen remains a vital member of Beth Chaim.