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Stacy Offner

OFFNER, STACY (1955– ), U.S. Reform rabbi. A magna cum laude graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio (1977), she received her M.H.L. (1982) and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in New York City (1984). She then went to the Twin Cities where she was the first woman rabbi in the state of Minnesota and went on to be the first openly gay woman rabbi in the United States. She was the founding rabbi of Shir Tikvah (1988). Involved in many community-wide endeavors, Offner also served as adjunct professor of Jewish Ethics at Hamline University for over a decade and served on the Ethics Committee of Children's Hospital and as chair of the Socially Responsible Investing Committee of the Reform Pension Board.

She was president of the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis, and was the first rabbi ever to serve a term as the officially elected chaplain of the Minnesota State Senate.

Among other activities she is a founding member of Feminists in Faith, Mpls.-St. Paul, 1984–88; a member of the Task Force on Sexual Exploitation Minn. Dept. Corrections, St. Paul, 1985–87; a member of the Disability Services Panel of the United Way, St. Paul, 1985–86.

She is the recipient of the Clergy Appreciation award, Civitan, 1990; Founding Feminist award, Women's Political Caucus, 1988; Sherrill Hooker Memorial Award, Lesbian and Gay Community, 1989.

Among her more innovative ideas for social justice, Rabbi Offner, as chair of the social responsibility subcommittee of the Reform Rabbinic Pension Fund, first responded to the idea of a national campaign to organize Jewish investment in community development financial institutions. The Pension Fund's 1995 investment of $200,000 in four community development banks was the first "mainstream Jewish" investment that the Shefa Fund could say it leveraged.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.