Angela Warnick Buchdahl serves as the Senior Cantor of Central Synagogue, a flagship synagogue of the Reform movement with a membership of over 6500 members. The Wall Street Journal recently dubbed Central as New York City’s first “megashul,” for its robust weekly worship attendance and overflow High Holiday crowds. Buchdahl was born in Seoul, Korea to a Jewish American father and a Korean Buddhist mother, and is the first Asian American to be ordained as a rabbi or cantor in North America. Rabbi/Cantor Buchdahl was invested as a cantor in 1999 and also ordained as a rabbi in 2001 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York, where she was a Wexner Graduate fellow. She earned a BA in Religious Studies from Yale University in 1994.
Rabbi/Cantor Buchdahl has been nationally recognized for her innovations in liturgical transformation and has served as faculty for the Wexner Heritage Foundation and for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Kallot programs. Buchdahl has been actively involved in Just Congregations, the Reform Movement’s Congregation Based Community Organizing effort at Central and on a national level, recently being honored by the Avodah Service Corps for her role as a partner in social justice work. Buchdahl was named one of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America by Newsweek Magazine. She has contributed or been featured in articles in Reform Judaism, Shema Journal of Jewish Ideas, KoreAm Journal of Korean American Life, and the PBS documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidrei. She serves on the Board of Auburn Theological Seminary and previously, the Multiracial Jewish Network. Prior to her appointment as cantor at Central Synagogue, Rabbi/Cantor Buchdahl served as associate rabbi/cantor at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, N.Y. Buchdahl and her husband Jacob Buchdahl live in New York City and have three children.
Watch the full Finding Your Roots episode: Rick Warren, Angela Buchdahl, and Yasir Qadhi.