Rabbi Lynnda Targan, author of the newly published memoir, Funny, You Don’t Look Like A Rabbi, is the guest on this episode of the Seekers of Meaning Podcast. Rabbi Targan, who serves the Philadelphia Jewish community, became a rabbi later in life and discusses her spiritual journey.
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About the Guest
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. 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 Heschel 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 facilitative style, for many years Rabbi Targan was on the faculty of the 92nd St. Y as a teacher of Derekh Torah, and teaches graduate courses in the Florence Melton Adult-Mini School of Gratz College. She is a member of the Executive Board of Women of Vision. She also 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.
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. Her hobbies include reading, art, theater, bicycling, cooking and traveling. She is a member of the Lions of Judah of the Women’s Philanthropy division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and a Women of Vision, as well as a supporter of a variety of other political, cultural, and philanthropic organizations. She is a member of both the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis and the New York Board of Rabbis. For more than 50 years, Rabbi Targan has been the wife of Larry Targan, president of Integrity Textiles, Inc., and is the mother of Eric Targan, a businessman in Florida and Beth Seltzer, an attorney in Philadelphia, and the mother-in-law of Dr. Charlie Seltzer and Nasreen Yousefi. She is the grandmother of Sage and Darren. Rabbi Targan stays grounded by her faith in God, her work, and the love and support of her beloved friends and family.