First Black Female Rabbi Takes Up Pulpit

Published June 3, 2009

For the first time in U.S. history, a Black woman rabbi will take up a U.S. pulpit.

Alysa Stanton, who will be ordained on June 6 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, will also become the first rabbi to lead a majority White congregation. She has been named spiritual leader of the Bayt Shalom Congregation, a small conservative group in Greenville, N.C., affiliated with the Reform Movement.

Stanton will serve as “an important role model” for young Black Jewish Americans, said Diane Tobin, associate director of the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish and Community Research.

“Hopefully over time they will see themselves reflected in the community.”

About 20 percent of the American Jewish community is ethnically and racially diverse, according to the institute.

Written by BET.com Staff

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