Rabbi Karen Soria

Originally from the greater Chicago area, Rabbi Soria graduated from Syracuse University and attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Completing her studies in May, 1981, she was awarded a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and rabbinical ordination.

By July 1981 she was in Melbourne, Australia, where she served as one of two rabbis at Temple Beth Israel as Australia’s first female rabbi, before returning to the United States in 1989 and serving two congregations in Florida, in Winter Haven and on Sanibel Island as its founding rabbi. In 1992 she crossed the Pacific Ocean again, beginning her service as a chaplain in the United States Navy with four years in Okinawa, Japan, where she was the first female rabbi to serve with the U.S. Marines, and continuing with seven more in Norfolk, Virginia, where she was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became the first female chaplain to direct one of the Navy’s ‘CREDO’ programs (a retreat ministry).

She left the U.S. military in 2003 and in August, 2003, moved to Vancouver Island where she served a small congregation in Port Angeles, Washington, for four years. During her time on the island, she completed the Morei Derekh program for Jewish Spiritual Direction and (on a personal note) married a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, thus explaining her subsequent moves to Winnipeg, MB; Ottawa, ON, and Gananoque, her present home. Along the way, she also worked at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and with the Canadian Armed Forces(CAF) in Comox, BC, Winnipeg, MB, Ottawa, and Kingston, as the CAF’s first female rabbi and one of its first rabbis, both as a civilian and in uniform.

She continued to serve Temple Shalom in Winnipeg until June 2016 and is now honoured to be the rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Kingston, ON.

Rabbi Soria is married and has four children and one grandson.

Rabbi Karen Soria