“There are times in our lives when we can grasp the
reason for our existence in a single moment.”
(Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zerah 10a)
Rabbi Lynnda Targan was ordained in May, 2003 at The Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR) in Riverdale, New York, the only pluralistic seminary that trains rabbis and cantors for ordination in the spirit of Klal Yisrael. She entered the Rabbinate after a successful career as a communications expert: journalist, oral historian, writer, poet, storyteller and owner of her own public relations business, LT Communications. In preparation for the rabbinate she earned an MA in Jewish Liberal Studies in 1996 (Summa Cum Laude) and an MA in Jewish Communal Studies in 1998 (Summa Cum Laude) from Gratz College. She distinguished herself by winning the Nettie R. Ginsburg and Nathaniel I. S. Goldman Prize for Highest Academic Standing and the Arnold R. Ginsburg Prize for “Constructive Leadership and Promoting Communal Democracy,” and by delivering the Valedictory address at graduation. In addition, she was twice awarded the I. Bernard Rabinowitz Memorial Award for unique leadership, commitment and service to Jewish institutions.
While a student at AJR, she was an active participant in the community, serving as treasurer for three years, founder and editor of the community newspaper, Gesher l’Kesher, chair of a number of programs and committees and eventually president of the student body. She was also awarded a CLAL internship (Center for Learning and Leadership), and trained as a chaplain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital in New York. She was the recipient of The Rabbi Hershel J. Matt Creative Liturgy Award for her curriculum on adult B’not Mitzvah entitled Recipes for Jewish Living and she received the Rabbi Chana Timoner Creative Liturgy Award for her project, A Guide for Clergy to Understand Recovery of Family Members, Friends and Co-Dependents of People with Addictions. She also received the Student Association Leadership Award for years of dedicated service.
Known for her compassionate mentoring and inclusive style, Rabbi Targan began her community rabbinic career facilitating outreach to interfaith couples through the teaching of Derekh Torah at the 92nd St. Y, and teaching graduate courses in the Florence Melton Adult-Mini School of Gratz College. She co-founded the Women’s Midrash Institute, which provides a setting for men (not many) and women to study Jewish texts in a contemporary context of feminist inquiry, and she is a Mussar Facilitator.
Rabbi Targan serves as a public speaker for various organizations, inspiring people to develop their own spirituality and unique purpose and mission in the world. Simultaneously, she continues to write healing services, meditations and other creative works which have been published widely. She also officiates at a number of services and conducts many lifecycle events. She is a member of the Jewish Book Council and the Author’s Guild. Her book, Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Rabbi, A Memoir of Unorthodox Transformation, was published in 2020.
She also is a member of the Executive Board of Women of Vision (a division of Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia) and Co-chair of the Program Committee; a Lion of Judah; a member of the National Council of Jewish Women, a life-member of Hadassah and a supporter of a variety of other political, cultural, and philanthropic organizations. Rabbi Targan is a member of the Board of Rabbis in both Philadelphia and New York.
Rabbi Targan is the recipient of various academic and community service awards and is listed in Who’s Who in Professional and Executive Women and Who’s Who in American Women. Rabbi Targan has been married for more than 52 years to Larry Targan, President of Integrity Textiles, Inc. The couple have two married children and two beloved grandchildren.