Nearly every day, I encounter a rabbi who inspires me. The rabbi with whom I am learning Talmud, my first sustained study of the foundational text. The rabbi who guides her synagogue members to confront end-of-life medical and spiritual issues before the end of their lives. The rabbi who serves Jews and non-Jews alike in an anti-poverty center steps away from the old Forward building on the Lower East Side.
I know that in this regard, I am fortunate to live in New York City, epicenter of the Diaspora, where Jewish expression and experimentation are ubiquitous. But I also know that rabbis play transformative roles in all corners of our country, in and outside traditional venues, within every stream of Judaism and then some.
I know this because each year, the Forward seeks out stories about those rabbis, who inspire in synagogues and schools, Hillels and hospices, on a mountaintop and in the military. We find these stories through you, our readers, who share these examples of profound spiritual leadership in your everyday lives.
So once again, we call for your nominations to our list of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis. Fill our the survey below and, in 200 words or less, tell us why a particular rabbi changed your life. The deadline is April 15. Rather than repeating past years’ winners, we are looking for new names, because we know that there is more than enough inspiration to sustain us all.
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, is writer-at-large at the Forward and the 2019 Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan University. For more than a decade, she was editor-in-chief of the Forward, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward’s digital readership grew significantly, and won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.