Alysa Stanton, a black female who will be ordained next month at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, has been hired to lead Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, N.C. According to its Web site, the congregation is affiliated with both the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Union for Reform Judaism.
Stanton, a trained psychotherapist — she was raised Pentecostal Christian but converted to Judaism more than two decades ago, when she was 24 — told JTA last year:
People look at me and ask if I was born Jewish. I say yes, but not to a Jewish womb. I believe I was at Sinai. It’s not as if one day I scratched my head and said, hmm, now how can I make my life more difficult? I know — I’ll become Jewish!
And more than a year before being hired on at Bayt Shalom, Stanton spoke about her career trajectory with the Cleveland Jewish News: “I will be wherever Hashem will lead me and wherever the community (that wants me) will be.” But her ultimate goal, she said, was to run a healing retreat for those who have become physically emotionally and spiritually depleted.