After 39 years of service our beloved rabbi, Dena Feingold, will be retiring on June 30, 2024. We have been blessed with decades of her powerful, impactful spiritual leadership. As Rabbi Feingold prepares to retire, we reflect on her exceptional career, which has brought us to a position of strength within our community and throughout the region.
Rabbi Feingold became Wisconsin’s first female rabbi in 1982, and came to Beth Hillel Temple in 1985. In addition to being a treasured faith leader in our own congregation, she has been a prominent champion for racial and social justice throughout her career, with extensive interfaith outreach, education, and collaboration throughout the region. A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, Rabbi Feingold is married to attorney Brad Backer, and they have two adult children and 2 grandchildren.
1977: Graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-
Madison with majors in Communications/Public Address
and Judaic Studies.
1981: Received Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters at HUC-JIR.
1982: Ordained at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute
of Religion (HUC-JIR), Cincinnati
1982 – 1985: Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Shalom,
1985 – Present: Rabbi at Beth Hillel Temple
2007: Doctor of Divinity degree from HUC-JIR for serving 25
years in the rabbinate.
During her career, Rabbi Feingold has been active in a wide range of community and professional organizations, including:
Past president of the Midwest Association of Reform Rabbis and of the Wisconsin Council of Rabbis.
Formerly served on the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) board of trustees, including Chair of its Ethics Board of Appeals. Currently serves on the CCAR Ethics Process Review Committee.
Leadership in the Kenosha County Clergy Association.
Founding member of the Religious Advisory Task Force of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections
Immediate Past President of Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) -- the Kenosha interfaith social justice affiliate of WISDOM
Recipient along with CUSH of the Midwest Anti-Defamation League’s Freedom Award
Recipient of CUSH Faithful Advocate Award
Previous board member of the United Way of Kenosha County, the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha, and Mentor Kenosha Racine.
Former adjunct faculty: Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners
Former adjunct faculty: Carthage College in Kenosha.
Frequently speaks to church groups and civic organizations, as well as classes and forums at UW-Parkside and Carthage. Leader of interfaith dialogue efforts with Christian and Muslim groups.
Volunteer in local causes including public school mentorship, Shalom Center, and Coalition for Dismantling Racism
Her essays appear in Lights in the Forest, CCAR Press, 2014 and Prophetic Voices, CCAR Press, 2023.
LIFE CYCLE EVENTS
While at Beth Hillel Temple, Rabbi Feingold has led or conducted:
75 naming ceremonies
143 B'nai Mitzvah
Make a Contribution
To honor the activism, compassion, and dedication of Rabbi Feingold, we have established the Rabbi Dena Feingold Spiritual Legacy Fund. Learn more about the purpose of this fund, and how you can make a contribution in honor of Rabbi Feingold.
SAVE THE DATE
Rabbi Dena Feingold Retirement Gala Celebration
Saturday Evening, June 22, 2024
UW Parkside - Kenosha, WI