Rabbi Sandra Lawson (’18) Profiled by Student News Magazine | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Rabbi Sandra Lawson (’18) Profiled by Student News Magazine

News

Rabbi Sandra Lawson at Elon University

Rabbi Sandra Lawson leading Friday night prayers surrounded by Elon University college students

Rabbi Sandra Lawson serves as associate chaplain for Jewish life at Elon University.

Rabbi Sandra Lawson, ’18, serves as associate chaplain for Jewish life and Jewish educator at Elon University in North Carolina. Lawson was recently featured in an in-depth, 60 Minutes-style segment produced by Elon News Network, the university’s student-run organization that produces a wide range of news content. (Elon’s long-form platform is actually called 30 Minutes.)

The video segment focuses on Lawson’s path to the rabbinate, her immediate impact at Elon, and the backlash and she still encounters in some segments of the Jewish community. Lawson is a Jew-by-choice and woman of color who identifies as a lesbian. During her years at student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Lawson was a pioneer in the use of myriad social media platforms to teach Torah. JTA gave Lawson the moniker “the Snapchat rabbi.”

“You have to figure out ways to get people to come to you or you can go to them,” Lawson tells her interviewer.

Asked whether she wants to be seen as “just another rabbi” or a symbol, Lawson, with her usual candor, replied “both.”

“First of all, the students I interact with, I don’t think they really care. I think they care that they have a rabbi and that I am engaged with them. And that’s really good because we are raising a generation of Jews to look past whatever their grandfather’s rabbi was. One of the things I want is I want the larger Jewish community to understand that the rabbis who are coming up today are a diverse group of people. Many of them are people of color. Many of them are not straight. Many of them might be married to non-Jews. My difference, my diversity, is helping people to become aware of that.”

View the whole piece here:

30 Minutes Elon Fall 2018: Rabbi Redefined

Elon News also produced this written feature on Lawson.

If you want more on Rabbi Sandra, earlier this year, she was a guest on #TrendingJewish, a Reconstructing Judaism podcast.  This interview was meant to focus on the intersection of Judaism and technology. But no illuminating conversation completely goes as planned. Rabbi Sandra explains how it was impossible to discuss her adoption of social media and technology without delving into questions of race, identity and sexuality.

During her years at the college, Lawson was also the subject of several articles, including this piece by JTA’s Ben Sales, and this article by Kristen E. Holmes of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The college is extremely proud to count Lawson of one of its more than 400 graduates serving the world, helping individuals and communities reconstruct Judaism for their time.

 

 

More News

College News

Meet the young Jews chanting ‘Never again!’ and blocking streets to shut down Trump’s camps

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Never Again Action’s July 2019 demonstrations against refugee detainment camps, featuring rabbinical student Lizzie Horn

News
College News

Rabbi Ora Nitkin-Kaner ('16) Featured in Moving Video from Avodah Service Corps

Students come to the College from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

News
College News

Rabbi Ariana Katz ('18) Weaves Her Mark Into Jewish Podcasting with “Thread”

Rabbi Ariana Katz is interviewed about her innovative podcasts.  

News
College News

Rabbi Alex Weissman ('17) "An Advocate for Social Justice and Civil Rights"

Rabbi Alex Weissman is the senior Jewish educator at Brown RISD Hillel, where he says he has the pleasure of drinking a lot of coffee and learning a lot of Torah with and from his students. He agreed to answer a few questions as part of Jewish Rhode Island’s ongoing effort to introduce community leaders.

News
College News

Faculty Member Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer Publishes Book on Peace Through Multifaith Understanding

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., a longtime faculty member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College who founded the institution’s multifaith studies department, has published a new book, Strangers, Neighbors, Friends: Muslim-Christian-Jewish Reflections on Compassion and Peace.

News
College News

Rabbi Amy Bernstein, '97, Chosen to Lead SoCal Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Amy Bernstein was installed on January 16, 2019 as the president of The Board of Rabbis of Southern California for a two-year term.

News
College News

Rabbi Lazarus-Klein ('04) Named to Buffalo Hillel Board

Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, a 2004 graduate who serves Congregation Shir Shalom near Buffalo, has been named to the board of Hillel of Buffalo.

News
College News

Rabbi Lawson ('18) Recognized in JTA Twitter 50

2018 Graduate Rabbi Sandra Lawson was recognized in JTA’s Twitter 50 list this year. 

News
College News

Jewish Ethics, #MeToo, and Crowd-Sourced Responsa

In 5778, the hashtags #TimesUp #MeToo #GamAni sparked a broad communal conversation about abuses of power on the part of individuals and institutions, within and beyond the Jewish community. The year brought revelations of misconduct among celebrities and government officials, and in Jewish schools, organizations, and synagogues. Now, powerful people who abuse their power are being held accountable, and this is a development that is welcome and long overdue. That doesn’t mean it is easy.

News
College News

Labor and Faith Leaders Rally in Support of Immigrants

Rabbi Mordecai Liebling joined with labor and faith leaders in support of immigrants in an August 15 rally in Philadelphia that drew thousands. 

News
College News

Rabbi Adler ('18) Appointed at Belle Mead Synagogue

Congregation Kehilat Shalom, a Reconstructionist congregation in Belle Mead, has appointed Rabbi Jacob Best Adler, a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. As a student, Adler co-wrote “The Hamilton Haggadah” with a classmate. The two rewrote Lin-Manuel Miranda’s famous songs to tell the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The project went viral the week before Passover in 2016, and received national media coverage.

News
College News

Rabbi Kennebrae ('17) Featured: Gay and African-American rabbi wants to shatter stereotypes of what a Jew looks like

In her position as the newly installed rabbi of West End Synagogue, a Reconstructionist congregation on the Upper West Side, Kennebrae aims to challenge notions of what a Jew looks like.

News
College News

Rabbi Lawson ('18) Featured: Rabbi Meets Jews Where They Are Today

Newly graduated Rabbi Sandra Lawson was profiled in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent

News
College News

Rabbi Pollack ('17) Featured: One Rabbi’s Bipartisan Spiritual Quest to End Corruption in Pennsylvania

Rabbi Michael Pollack’s quest to end political corruption in Pennsylvania was profiled in Tablet Magazine.

News
College News

Rabbinic Students Help Keep Judaism Alive Behind Prison Walls

Serving Jewish prisoners in state prison, rabbinic students find new perspectives on freedom and responsibility.

News