Rabbi Deborah Megdal

Rabbi Deborah Megdal


I am deeply grateful to be in a community of joyful energy, profound commitment to tradition, and enduring love for each other. I am honored to hear your stories, to learn with you, and to be present with you for life’s paths.


Rabbi Deborah Megdal joined the Beth El community as our associate rabbi in August of 2021. She also serves as a fellow on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which sets policy for the Conservative Movement, and on the editorial committee of Masorti: The New Journal of Conservative Judaism.

After growing up in Los Angeles, she graduated from the University of Chicago as a member of Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in History and Gender Studies. In her first career, she earned her J.D. at Yale Law School, clerked for a federal judge, and worked in commercial litigation and international arbitration at a Manhattan law firm.

Rabbi Megdal was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she also earned a master’s degree in Talmud and Rabbinics, a Certificate in Applied Halakhah, and academic prizes in Talmud and Jewish Law. She previously served Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City, the largest LGBTQ synagogue, and completed a chaplaincy rotation in hospice. She has been a guest speaker at Fordham University’s Center for Jewish Studies and the Israeli Embassy.

Rabbi Megdal lives with her partner, Karen Benezra, and their rescue dog, Bennie Zahav. Their family is grateful for the warm embrace from our community.

Ancient Rabbinic Law with Rabbi Megdal

We welcome newcomers and returning regulars to our discussions of law, theology, history, and culture from ancient times to the modern day. Join Rabbi Megdal in studying the first major collection of written rabbinic law, the Mishnah. Codified around 200 CE, the Mishnah is the foundation for the thousands of years of law that followed. Open to those of any background or experience level. Texts are accessible on Sefaria.org with side-by-side translation and links to commentary. Click here to sign up (you only need to register once).

Office Hours with Rabbi Megdal

Have a quick question or want to stop in to say hello? Need to talk for a little longer or require non-emergency pastoral care? Please email Sara Greenbaum to schedule an appointment.


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April 30, 2024

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April 23, 2024

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March 30, 2024

Blog Posts

Erupting or Evolving

February 12, 2024

By Rabbi Deborah Megdal.  What makes a conversation around Israel “erupt”? I’ve been thinking about this question since a friend shared that her workplace has been, in her words, “erupting …

Grateful, or Trying

November 20, 2023

By Rabbi Deborah Megdal.  Gratitude comes easily sometimes, pouring out of us in response to kindness, support, or lucky circumstance. Feeling and expressing this gratitude is a practice worthy of …

“I Love When People Sing Along”

November 30, 2022

“I love when people sing along,” Noah Rosner reflected, in a heartfelt close to November’s Yedid Nefesh Friday Night Service. More than sixty voices sang the familiar melodies of Kabbalat …

If I Could Tell My Fifteen-Year-Old Self

February 10, 2022

When I was about fifteen years old, my father took me to buy tefillin. An older teenage girl at my school showed me how to wrap tefillin one day at …

Let Me Sing to God

November 17, 2021

We are excitedly preparing for Interfaith Thanksgiving this Tuesday, November 23, 7:30pm, at Bethesda United Methodist Church (BUMC). The evening will be filled with blessings of gratitude, teaching, and music.  …