Lisa Messinger has been a long-time leader and volunteer in several community organizations and Jewish organizations in New York and throughout North America. Until the 2018 death of her husband, HUC-JIR President Rabbi Aaron Panken, Lisa was his nearly full-time partner, traveling North America and Israel on behalf of Hebrew Union College. After his death, she co-conceived, spearheaded, and completed a $12 million campaign to endow four new professorships in her husband’s name—one on each of HUC’s campuses—in New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. Lisa has served on the Board of the Foundation for Jewish Camp in addition to the UJA-Federation’s task force for Welcoming Interfaith Families and SYNERGY Coordinating Committee. She is past chair of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Northeast Camp Institute as well as having completed four years (2009–2013) as President of Westchester Reform Temple.
A native of Scarsdale, New York, Lisa returned to her hometown in 1996 and served in various volunteer capacities, including the Scarsdale Public Library Capital Campaign Committee (completed 2017) as well as the Board of the Scarsdale Adult School. Lisa received her bachelor's in History from Northwestern University. She is a Wexner Heritage Fellow in Jewish Leadership and, has coursework in special events for non-profit institutions from NYU School of Continuing Education. Lisa is currently enrolled in the Columbia University Coaching Certification Program. Lisa has two children with her late husband.