Alyssa Stanton and other black rabbis enter the American Jewish mainstream
Appeared in July/ August Moment by Jeremy GillickÂ http://www.momentmag.com/Exclusive/2009/2009-08/200908-Post-Racial-Rabbis.html
One of the first things that six-year-old Alyssa Stanton noticed when her family moved into a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was a rectangular ornament affixed to the doorpost of her new home. Her uncle Edward, a â€œdevout Catholic who went to shul on occasion,â€ explained to her that it was a mezuzah. â€œHe would wear a yarmulke sometimes,â€ she says, â€œand he knew a lot about a lot of things.â€ A few years later her uncle, who spoke eight languages, gave her a Hebrew grammar book, which she still has.
This fleeting introduction to Judaism set Stantonâ€”the granddaughter of a Baptist minister and daughter of a Pentecostal Christianâ€”on a journey that led her to convert to Judaism 18 years later. Stanton, now 45, recently passed another milestone on her spiritual journey. On June 6 in Cincinnatiâ€™s historic Plum Street Temple, she was ordained by Hebrew Union College, the Reform rabbinical school, making her the movementâ€™s first African-American rabbi and the first African-American woman ordained by a mainstream Jewish denomination.
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