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Our Rabbi 


Rabbi Jill Hackell was born and raised in Brooklyn, a product of the New York City Public School System.  She has a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Tufts University, and completed an M.D. and Residency in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins.  After a Pediatric Fellowship in Houston, she moved to Rockland County in 1981.   


A mother of two young children, she practiced Pediatrics part-time for a few years, before she took a full-time position at Lederle Laboratories (subsequently Wyeth) in Pearl River, New York.  She spent the major part of her career doing clinical research there, working on new vaccines for children - including vaccines against whooping cough, meningitis and pneumonia.


She and her family attended synagogue in Nyack, New York.  During her years of driving the Sunday morning car-pool to Hebrew school, she became a regular at the Sunday morning minyan, and took any adult education courses that were available.   Before long, Rabbi Hackell was reading Torah and haftarah, leading prayers, and growing in Jewish knowledge.  She wanted more, but could not carve out a sufficient block of time for more intensive learning and the study of the Hebrew language that was a necessary pre-requisite.


In 2007, after 22 years, Rabbi Hackell retired from the pharmaceutical industry and began her formal studies at the Academy of Jewish Religion, a pluralistic rabbinical school.  Here she discovered the joys of Judaism inclusive of all the movements, in a caring, spiritual community.  During her time at AJR, she served as a rabbinic intern at Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, and then as rabbi of another Congregation Sons of Israel, in Chambersburg, PA. 


Rabbi Hackell was ordained by AJR in May 2013, also receiving a Masters in Jewish Studies from Gratz College in Philadelphia.  She began her position as rabbi at the West Clarkstown Jewish Center in July 2013.   She also teaches in the Melton program and in the Midreshet Adult Education program at the Jewish Federation of Rockland.


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