First African-American Woman To Be Named Rabbi

May 22, 2009

North Carolina (ChattahBox) – The first African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi has been announced in North Carolina, causing mixed responses in the Jewish community.

Alysa Stanton, who was originally raised in a Pentecostal Christian family, converted to Judaism nearly a decade ago, and has since attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

The single mother of one adopted daughter has put her all in achieving this goal, though she says it is a bit of a surprise to many, even herself.

“Ten years ago, if someone said I was going to be a rabbi, I would have laughed. Me, a spiritual leader?” she told ABC in a recent interview.

While most of the Jewish community sees it as a positive step towards further understanding and acceptance, those who lean on the side of Orthodoxy are concerned.

According to Orthodox Jewish tradition, a woman is not to be ordained.

Stanton’s ordination is scheduled for June 6th.


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