Rabbi Ellen Lippmann

Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives | Brooklyn, New York | 61 years old
Nondenominational | Hebrew Union College

“When I sought out a synagogue at which to convert to Judaism, I went through a number before I found Kolot Chayeinu. Built on Rabbi Lippmann’s dream of a coffeehouse and the understanding that doubt can be an act of faith, I immediately felt at home. But it was when I actually heard her speak — in that deliberate, focused and brilliant way that she does — that I knew I’d found my rabbi. The first time we met, I was so terribly nervous, but she calmed my nerves with her gentle presence. Rabbi Lippmann never rushed me through my conversion, but rather waited and coaxed me gently through. She continued to push me to give drashot and eventually to join the board of Kolot Chayeinu. It is a commonly heard phrase around the synagogue that we are “the tribe of Ellen” and it is only partially tongue-in-cheek. Rabbi Lippmann is the glue, the bedrock, the lighthouse.”

MEL KING (also nominated by 25 others)

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