Maggie M. Wenig, class of 1978 (interview 1 of 2)


In Part 1 of this interview, Maggie M. Wenig begins by sharing some family information including her parents’ careers as lawyers and her own high school education in Westport, Connecticut. Wenig explains that she knew she wanted to pursue Judaic Studies, despite her family’s lack of religiosity, and decided that Brown University was the best place to do that.

Wenig remembers joining a group of women in Hillel and Friday School as soon as she was on campus, and making efforts to describe God with female pronouns. She explains being particularly influenced by the self-help health areas of the Women’s Movement and being a staunch feminist before she arrived on campus. She goes on to detail what appealed to her about becoming a rabbi and how she chose which rabbinical school she wanted to attend after Brown.

In Part 2, Wenig describes the demographics of a congregation she worked at in Manhattan and how those demographics have changed during her time there. She identifies some of the challenges she has met as a woman in the field and explains the efforts she has made to include lesbian and gay members and volunteer for the Interfaith Pastoral Care Network.

Wenig concludes the interview by saying that her experience at Brown does not help her perform her rabbinical duties but has assisted in her adjunct professorship at Hebrew Union College. She adds that managing children in addition to her work has been managed with the help of her husband and her children’s interest in her career.

See also: Maggie M. Wenig, class of 1978 (interview 2 of 2)

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on May 3, 1989
Interviewed by Miriam Dale Pichey

Suggested Chicago style citation: Wenig, Maggie M. Interview. By Miriam Dale Pichey. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. May 3, 1989.


Maggie M. Wenig was born on February 7, 1957 in New York City. She attended Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, and graduated from Brown University in 1978 with an A.B. in religious studies. She was ordained in 1984 and is a Rabbi and Instructor at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Wenig has been a long-time activist for feminist and LGBT issues in the Jewish community.