Hey, if you can’t beat the Wall of Jews ™, join ‘em.
This is remarkable as she’s a) young, b) female and c) Asian. Descended from King Taejo on her mother’s side, she was raised Jewish, although as the WSJ points out, it wasn’t always easy being the Asian Jew:
For Rabbi Buchdahl, who studied religion at Yale University before enrolling in rabbinical school, her commitment to Judaism had a long evolution. By 14, she was the music teacher at her synagogue; in high school, she argued to postpone student-government votes when they fell on Yom Kippur.
But a trip to Israel at 16 drove home some challenges.
There were no other Asians on the streets. “I was kind of an oddity all the time,” she said.
Her biggest surprise came when fellow students questioned whether she was actually Jewish, since her mother wasn’t. “It was extremely painful and destabilizing for me,” she said.
Israeli daily Haaretz ran a profile of Rabbi Buchdahl yesterday—give it a read.
The WSJ also notes that she’s one of only a handful of people in North America ordained as both a rabbi and cantor. She is renowned for her musical skill, in fact:
Rabbi Buchdahl often contributes original music mash-ups that blend pop culture and prayer. Once, she supported Rabbi Rubinstein’s sermon on his love for the community by reworking Steve Winwood’s hit song “Higher Love” into Hebrew hymn.
Now that I just had to hear, being a fan of the song. And thankfully, there is a Youtube video of it—fast forward toward the end of this sermon: