Abby Kelman

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Abby Kelman

I am an attorney with over 25 years of experience: my current private practice devoted to representing clergy in employment matters. I have practiced as a litigator in both the private and public sectors. As a litigator in private practice, I represented clients in mediations and arbitrations as well as in trials. My representation of clergy in employment matters has included contract negotiations, contract renewal, and termination of contracts.

I have spent my life surrounded by rabbis – Conservative, Orthodox and Reform – and have a unique appreciation of their life’s work and pressures. I’m the daughter of Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, z’l, sister of Rabbis Levi Weiman-Kelman and Naamah Kelman, and the granddaughter of Rabbi Felix Alexander Levy, z’l (a Reform Rabbi in Chicago) and Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kelman, z’l (an Orthodox rabbi in Toronto). I was immersed in Jewish life as a child, attending both Jewish Day School, and Jewish youth group and summer camp. As an adult, I have been active in my synagogue, participating on committees and as a b’nai mitzvah tutor. I have volunteered at my children’s Jewish Day School, and the local Jewish Federation. My ties to Israel are strong and I visit at least twice a year. As a layperson active in synagogue life and with my first- hand exposure to rabbinic needs, I bring professional perspective and personal sensitivities necessary for clergy and congregational relations.

Growing up in New York City, our Friday night table was filled with clergy of many faiths, writers, musicians, politicians , entrepreneurs, artists, and public figures. There was always a lively discussion that represented a plurality of ideas and opinions. It was a unique incubator for critical thinking and analysis for my siblings and me.

For the past 5 years, I was a member of the faculty of Saint Louis University School of Law. Prior to this appointment, I practiced in the public and private sectors including the Manhattan DA’s office and the Anti-Defamation League. My experience in the private sector included positions at law firms in New York and St. Louis.

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude, with a B.A. in Public Policy and earned my J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. I am admitted before the courts of New York, Missouri, and the United States Supreme Court.

I’m married to Peter Barg and we have four children, Hannah, Alex, Emma and Adina.