Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz joined Temple Israel’s staff in 2003 and currently serves as the congregation’s first female Senior Rabbi. She delights in the array of responsibilities: leading services, preaching, officiating at lifecycle events, coordinating retreats, counseling, and providing pastoral care.
Her passions for social justice and collaborative interfaith programming have led to involvement with Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (L.E.A.D.), Reform Ohio – a collaboration of Reform Rabbis advocating social justice through legislature in Ohio, and a Dayton Interfaith Lunch and Learn. In April of 2015, she led 20 congregants on a week-long humanitarian trip to aid the Cuban Jewish community.
Rabbi Bodney-Halasz is also deeply committed to Jewish camping. She grew up attending Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) and, while a student at HUC-JIR, spent two summers on staff at GUCI and Greene Family Camp. Rabbi Bodney-Halasz has returned to GUCI to serve as faculty for six summers. Prior to working at Temple Israel, Rabbi Bodney-Halasz served in rabbinic capacities for congregations in Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Godfrey, Illinois; Joplin, Missouri; New Iberia, Louisiana; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Originally from Overland Park, Kansas, Rabbi Bodney-Halasz attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where she received her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literary Studies with a focus on Hebrew Literature and Culture. She received her Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and was ordained as a rabbi in 2007. Her rabbinic thesis was titled: “Breaking Ground: Biblical Archaeology and the Reform Rabbinate.”
Rabbi Bodney-Halasz currently resides in Centerville with her husband Scott Halasz, a Dayton native, and their two sons.