Alan Edelman is a native of Kansas City. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Education from the University of Kansas, spending his junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Alan attended the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City, where he received his Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Kansas. Alan’s research focused on restructuring the congregational religious school by integrating informal and family activities into the educational program.
From 1977-1980 he served as Educational Director, Congregation Beth Shalom in Kansas City.
Alan then spent two years as Regional Director of Central States/Provinces Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, consulting with congregations as well as coordinating regional youth activities.
On July 1, 1982 he began serving as Executive Director of the Central Agency for Jewish Education of Greater Kansas City (CAJE), a committee of the Jewish Federation.
On October 1, 1994, Alan’s responsibilities with the Jewish Federation were expanded to include community planning, human resource development, identity and engagement, and Israel/Overseas, assuming the role of Associate Executive Director until his retirement in June 2017.
Alan has served on a number of local, regional and continental advisory committees.
His volunteer efforts are focused on inter-faith and multi-cultural programming. Alan has served as guest theologian in many churches, universities and seminaries. He has also served on the board of directors for the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and Notre Dame de Sion School of Kansas City and currently serves as the Jewish Director of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council. He is also active in the pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He currently serves as the Jewish Director on the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council as well a member of the board of directors of the Center for Practical Bioethics, Avodah, EmberHope, Schechter Institute and The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning.
Alan and his wife, Debbie Sosland-Edelman, have three children, Alex, Katja and Jonathan and on June 14, 2014 another child came into his life when his daughter married Ari Fine. Katja and Ari made Alan a proud grandfather when Noa Dorit joined the family in August of 2017 and Kobi Zev joined the family in December of 2019.
Why do you support Avodah?
“Throughout my fifty-year career as a Jewish educator whether as teacher, director of a congregational religious school, or my years as Director of Engagement and Leadership at the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, my sole purpose was to support members of the community in their Jewish engagement journeys. My commitment to Avodah evolved from the knowledge that this organization provides a meaningful connection for a demographic that has so much to offer the Jewish community and sometimes has a difficult time finding a way into that community. At the core of our tradition is social justice and the Avodah platform is one of the most significant ways for emerging professionals to express that sacred tradition. It is an honor to serve on this progressive-minded board.”