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Rabbi Shira Stutman, '07

Rabbi Shira Stutman

Rabbi Shira Stutman, '07, entered RRC after a year of travel through Southeast Asia and South America, not knowing that she would bear three children and bury her father while studying for the rabbinate.
 
"The school really did seem like family because it took me personally through a lot of different events,” she says. As just one example of the support she found at RRC, Stutman recalls how one of her professors watched her newborn son for two hours every week, freeing her to take a class.
 
Stutman describes her route to RRC as somewhat unconventional. She grew up in a Conservative household and was educated entirely in Jewish day schools, followed by Columbia University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science. A love of Judaism and a mission to heal the world infused everything she chose to do.
 
She served as executive director and a board member for Lights in Action, a national nonprofit dedicated to Jewish student programming and leadership development. She worked at the Koret Foundation, a Jewish organization in the San Francisco Bay area that makes grants for social change and has a strong connection to economic development efforts in Israel.
 
Stutman also demonstrated her deep commitment to Jewish youth with positions such as education director at Or Shalom Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, consultant to the Bureau of Jewish Education of San Francisco on the issue of teen philanthropy and consultant to several other major foundations on the issue of Jewish youth activism.
 
Despite her Conservative background, Stutman ended up at RRC because it felt like a place that would embrace the contrasting Jewish beliefs she and her husband hold. RRC also offered a caring community with rigorous academics.
 
Today she is the director of Jewish programming at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC. But she still recalls the value of her six years at RRC, especially the diversity of her classmates and the emphasis on practical rabbinics. “There’s no better place to be, if you really want to understand Judaism in a holistic way, than in a community where you have a lot of people who’ve done a lot of things with their lives.”