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Rabbi Mara Young

Rabbi Mara (she/her) became rabbi of Woodlands Community Temple in 2021. She has called Woodlands home since 2009, beginning as a rabbinic intern from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Mara has served Woodlands in a number of roles, including Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Learning. Along the way, she has formed deep connections with all members of the community. She has been instrumental in continuing the Woodlands legacy of blending ancient wisdom with modern sensibilities and her vision has helped to shepherd Woodlands into the 21st century.

Rabbi Mara grew up in Westfield, NJ. She attended Tufts University in Boston where she majored in Anthropology and Judaic Studies with a minor in English. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion where she also earned a Masters of Hebrew Literature and a Certificate in Education: Specializing in Adolescents and Emerging Adults. While studying at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR, Mara was the rabbinic advisor at Occidental College's Hillel. Upon arriving in New York, Mara worked at the Union for Reform Judaism, Columbia-Barnard Hillel, The Jewish Home and Hospital, and Beth Israel Medical Center. 

Rabbi Mara is the co-founder and former spiritual leader of a young minyan in Astoria, NY called the Wandering Jews of Astoria. In 2017, Rabbi Mara was honored as a "Young Pioneer" by the Jewish Education Project. She serves as a mentor in the Jewish Education Project’s Qushiyot Israel Fellowship and was previously the chair of the Westchester Association of Temple Educators. She also received special training in special needs inclusion through the Matan Institute.

In the area of social action and justice work, Rabbi Mara is passionate about partnering with other religious groups, participating in panels, rallies and celebrations with local Muslim and Christian organizations. Rabbi Mara was selected as a Balfour Brickner Clergy Fellow with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and is actively involved in the Reform Movement’s regional advocacy group, RAC-NY. Her rabbinic school thesis was entitled “Jewish Teens, Substance Abuse and the Value of Intervention” and her experience working in the areas of mental health and substance abuse inspired her to write a prayer for individuals entering addiction treatment, which is included in the Reform Movement’s Rabbi’s Manual.

Rabbi Mara is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis as well as the Westchester Board of Rabbis, where she participates in the Westchester 2040 Vision project. Her whole family can be seen around temple, including her husband Mark and two young children: Noah and Asher.

You can follow Mara online at and

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784