First Black Female Rabbi

Paul Harvey

Somehow I missed this story entirely (as did the national media) -- thanks to The Critical Cleric for bringing it to my attention.

Congratulations to Rabbi Stanton. A bit of her story here:

As a student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Stanton drove more than 140 miles a week to study with a rabbi in Denver for her conversion. She later moved to Denver, becoming very involved in the Jewish community.
She also learned to chant the Torah, the five books of Moses.
"That opened something in the recesses of my being, and I had a hunger and a thirst to learn more," Stanton said.
Stanton, who worked as a licensed psychotherapist specializing in grief, loss and trauma, thought she was too old and too poor to start rabbinical studies at age 38. But she believed it was meant to be.
She enrolled in 2002 at the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the nation's oldest institution for training rabbis, cantors and educators of Reform Judaism.
She believes her future is in God's hands but isn't satisfied with the world as it is, said Rabbi Kenneth Ehrlich, campus dean.
"She deeply believes that God calls upon her _ and upon all of us _ to make this a better world, a place that God wants it to be," Ehrlich said, referring to Stanton's work with a hospice and other community activities.
Her ordination is a politically significant and healthy step in the next stage of Judaism's development in America, said Lewis Gordon, founder of the Institute of Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. Many believe it could draw more women and blacks to the rabbinate and other leadership roles.
A check of major seminaries in mainstream Judaism show 994 women rabbis will have been ordained as of the end of 2009. And several experts said they know of only one ordained black male rabbi in mainstream Judaism.
Stanton said she is happy to be a face that reflects diversity.
"I want our synagogue to be a place of hope, healing and inclusion," she said. "I want it to be an oasis for anyone seeking spiritual refreshment."


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