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About Us

About the Director

Rabbi Helen Plotkin is a graduate of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She is Director of the Swarthmore College Center for the Study of Classical Jewish Texts, also known as the Beit Midrash. In this role, she teaches in the Religion Department, where her courses include “Hebrew for Text Study” and “Readings in Classical Jewish Texts.” She works with Christian and Muslim professors to lead interfaith text study sessions, and she leads extracurricular study groups in Bible, Talmud, and midrash for students and faculty. To learn more about the Beit Midrash, see

Helen has worked as a teacher in the Jewish community for many years. She has developed and taught innovative family education programs and ongoing learning sessions with groups of teens who study together for many years after becoming bar/bat mitzvah. She has led entry level and and advanced study groups that have involved hundreds of adults in the Jewish community.

Helen is building her rabbinate around Mekom Torah, a venue for learning in support of a vibrant and welcoming Jewish community. She looks forward to sharing, both with members of local synagogues and with the unaffiliated, her passion for Jewish learning and Jewish life.


About the Rabbinic Intern

Danielle Parmenter graduated from Emory University with a bachelor of arts in religious studies and a minor in English. She also holds a master of arts in Judaic studies from Boston University with a concentration in medieval Jewish thought and culture. Danielle is currently beginning her second year of rabbinical school at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Danielle has worked in the Jewish community over the past seven years in a variety of formal and informal educational settings. She absolutely loves working with teenagers and has done so in religious schools, day schools, camps, community centers and through the Teen Mitzvah Corps. Danielle currently woks at Har Zion Temple as the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Coordinator and has enjoyed leading a Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! group for the past three years. Danielle lives in Blue Bell with her husband Scott and their cat Blaze. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry, hiking, camping, meditation, yoga, and gardening.