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Elyse Goldstein

(1955- )

GOLDSTEIN, ELYSE (1955– ), rabbi, educator, feminist activist. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Terry and Abe Goldstein, Elyse Goldstein earned a B.A. from Brandeis University in 1978 and an M.A. from Hebrew Union College in 1981. She was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1983 and from 1991 served as the founding director of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in Toronto, Ontario.

Goldstein's first rabbinic position was as assistant rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto between 1983 and 1986. One of the first female rabbis in Canada, she was also an outspoken feminist committed to Reform Judaism. From 1986 to 1991, she served as rabbi of Temple Beth David of Canton, Massachusetts, before returning to Toronto to become the primary architect of the Kolel, first Reform institute for advanced adult learning. Through her pioneering educational work at Kolel, Rabbi Goldstein made a unique contribution to Liberal Judaism in North America by enabling Jews of diverse backgrounds and affiliations to study Judaism as adults in a yeshiva-like environment that is not Orthodox. Goldstein is the author of Re-Visions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens (1998), and edited The Women's Torah Commentary (2000) and The Women's Haftorah Commentary (2003). She also published a study guide on women and Judaism, Seek Her Out: A Textual Approach to the Study of Women and Judaism (2004). She is one of seven women featured in the ground-breaking 1989 National Film Board of Canada documentary Half the Kingdom.

Elyse Goldstein received many honor and awards, including the 2005 Covenant Award and the 2004 UJA Rabbinic Achievement Award. In 2001 she was named ORT Woman of the Year.

Sources:N. Joseph, "Jewish Women in Canada: An Evolving Role," in: R. Klein (ed.), From Immigration to Integration, the Canadian Jewish Experience: A Millennium Edition (2001), 182–95; F. Zuckerman (ed.), Half the Kingdom: Seven Jewish Feminists, (1992).

[Norma Baumel Joseph (2nd ed.)]

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