Ordination coming soon for first black female rabbi

The last time I talked with Alysa Stanton, she said she would have converted to Judaism and submitted to the rigors of becoming a rabbi even if she had been the 50,000th African-American woman to do so instead of the history-making first.

And now, as she is preparing for her ordination on June 6 and her transition to her new job with a congregation in Greenville, N.C., she feels the same way.

Stanton, who visited Lexington in November to perform her monologue, Layers, at Temple Adath Israel, will receive her master's degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati next week and will be ordained at Plum Street Temple there.

Alysa Stanton will be ordained June 6 in Cincinnati.

She is scheduled to become the rabbi of Congregation Bayt Shalom on Aug. 1, working part-time.

"It is a part-time position, but it will work into full-time," Stanton said. "There is no such thing as a part-time rabbi."

Her No. 1 priority will be to continue the congregation's growth, she said. There are a few more than 50 families there, but there are a lot of children, which is a good indicator of future growth.

"There will be programs for all ages, and we will be an inclusive community where all are welcome," Stanton said.

Congregation Bayt Shalom is a small, majority white congregation in Greenville that is affiliated with both the Conservative and Reform movements in Judaism. Both movements began ordaining women in the 1970s and 1980s, but none had been black.

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