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Alysa Stanton

(1964 - )

Alysa Stanton is an African-American Jew, and was the first ever African-American Jewish woman to be ordained as a Rabbi.  Stanton received her ordination at Cincinatti Ohio's Plum Street Temple on June 6, 2009, alongside thirteen other new Rabbis.  

Despite growing up in a Pentacostal Christian Home, Stanton discovered Judaism in college and began studying with a conservative Rabbi in an Orthodox Synagogue.  Stanton formally converted to Judaism in 1987.  After working for years as a registered psychotherapist helping people work through trauma in their lives, Stanton enter the Hebrew Union College's Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2002.  While a student at HUC-JIR Stanton spent time as a Chaplain at a hospice in Ohio, and travelled the country engaging congregation members in intracultural dialogue.  In August 2009 Stanton was hired as the Rabbi for Congregation Bayt Shalom, a small, majority-white synagogue in Greenville, North Carolina.  Her contract with the Synagogue expired in July of 2011, after which the congregation decided not to renew her contract.  

Sources: Bloch Rosensaft, Jean.  Meet HUC-JIR's Students, Issue 72, 2009;