by the Forward

Rabbi Debra Orenstein

Congregation B’nai Israel | Emerson, New Jersey | 51 years old
Conservative | Jewish Theological Seminary

I am 26 years old. I am not Orthodox. I go to shul. In some ways, I believe these three statements alone should be enough to convince you how amazing this rabbi is. How is she amazing? Let me count (just a few of) the ways: Rabbi Orenstein tries to connect the parshah to situations in modern life to which each person can relate. The congregation holds “theme Shabbats”; I have attended the Sinatra Shabbat. (Unfortunately, I was not yet aware of this amazing community when they had the Beatles Shabbat!) She also writes on topics important to the Jewish community, such as the Jewish lifecycle for women. She is available for her congregants. She is exactly what you want and expect from a rabbi: She is progressive while valuing tradition.

— Kerry Salkin and seven others

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