Yardley native finds faith, path to become rabbi - Rabbi Nora Woods ('20) | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Yardley native finds faith, path to become rabbi - Rabbi Nora Woods ('20)

News

By Alyssa Moore

Originally published in the Bucks County Courier Times on June 22, 2020.

norawoods_feb2020.jpg

Photo of Rabbi Nora Woods

Rabbi Nora Woods

Nora Woods received her rabbinic ordination at a private and socially distanced ceremony at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote.

Nora Woods, a 32-year-old Yardley native, did not originally think she would end up becoming a rabbi, even joking that she saw herself becoming an astronaut before anything else.

Despite this, on June 7, Woods received her rabbinic ordination at a private and socially distanced ceremony at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote.

Woods was introduced to religion and faith around the age of 10 when she attended Quaker wilderness summer camps. The camps taught the Quaker values of peace and simplicity while sitting quietly and being surrounded by nature.

It was the peacefulness that Woods found grounding and started love for faith of all and any kinds, she said.

Moving into high school, Woods became interested in Buddhism. Recalling her initial introduction to the religion, she said it was, “beautiful, and I love it, and it’s not totally right, and I don’t know why.”

Woods comes from a largely secular family with Jewish backgrounds, but did not start connecting specifically with the religion itself until college.

Woods received her bachelors in religion, with a focus in religious philosophy, at Earlham College. She went on to manage a farm in Newtown and then moved to Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Connecticut where she was an Adamah Fellow and a Teva Educator.

“You know what, I’m going to go to the rabbis,” stated Woods when she made the decision to attend a rabbinical school to earn her masters. Woods realized many of her personal values were also reflective in Jewish values, which brought a connection between her and her family’s religious backgrounds.

While in school, Woods has worked for T’ruah, a Jewish nonprofit organization which helps victims of human trafficking. Woods visited Safe Horizon in New York City and its anti-trafficking unit and listened to the survivors’ stories.

“Being present with people, listening and being with them in their most painful moments was transformative, inspiring and heartbreaking.”

As a T’ruah fellow, she met victims of both labor and sexual trafficking and helped them navigate housing and jobs, as well as providing spiritual support. Woods also worked with senior citizens as a chaplain intern at Abramson Center for Jewish Life and Hebrew Senior Life, as well as college students at Georgetown University and Bryn Mawr College.

Woods is continuing her career as an interfaith chaplain at Bryn Mawr College where she will be providing pastoral counseling and advising faith groups, as well as working with the seniors during the summer. Woods is passionate and welcoming of all students and people, no matter their religion. She said she will welcome in anyone who wants to talk about their faith.

Nora Woods, 32, of Yardley, is continuing her career as an interfaith chaplain at Bryn Mawr College where she will be providing pastoral counseling and advising faith groups, as well as working with the seniors during the summer.

More News

College News

New Rabbi at Attleboro Synagogue - Rabbi Alex Weissman ('17)

Originally published in The Sun Chronicle on Aug. 14, 2020

News
College News

Data Breach Notification

Recently, we were notified by one of our software vendors, Blackbaud, that they experienced a ransomware attack from February 2020 to May 2020.

News
College News

Trauma, Healing & Resilience for Rabbis, Jewish Educators and Organizers - Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg ('18)

“This guide offers, I hope, valuable context, distillation of terms, tools, and most importantly, questions that rabbis and educators can ask to engage the ongoing process of integrating trauma awareness into our Jewish communities.” - Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg

News
College News

Rabbi takes a non-traditional path to Temple Sinai Cinnaminson - Rabbi Michael Perice ('20)

He started out small, reading books and going to services more often. But no matter how much his newly excavated faith grew, he said, becoming a rabbi was still the farthest reality in his mind.

News
College News

Boycotting Twitter to protest its handling of anti-Semitism could backfire - Rabbi Emily Cohen ('18)

In that sense, the digital walkout’s mission is one I fully support. But, of course, effective action is a little more complicated than that.

News
College News

Lessons From Transitioning in the Pandemic - Rabbi James Greene ('08)

Then, in early March the world changed forever, and my role at Camp Laurelwood went from incoming ED to Crisis Manager.

News
College News

What it’s like to start a job as a rabbi mid-pandemic - Rabbi Michael Perice ('20)

When Perice started the job last week, he was still living in Philadelphia. He has met his congregants only once — right before he started the job when he made the 40-minute drive to the congregation for a socially distanced Shabbat service held in the synagogue’s parking lot.

News
College News

In Seattle’s protest zone, rabbis at chaplaincy table create new rituals to heal - Rabbi David Basior ('15)

“I experienced curiosity about our presence,” Basior, the rabbi at Reconstructionist congregation Kadima, told The Times of Israel about that first night. “Someone came wanting a blessing. I asked a little about themselves and gave them a blessing. It was pretty ecumenical. They didn’t identify as Jewish and I didn’t ask.”

News
College News

Learning on the Job: RRC Students Provide Spiritual Counseling and Jewish Experience Online

As the coronavirus pandemic forced nearly all communal life online, RRC students drew on every aspect of their training and RRC’s support to serve in a radically changed environment.

News
College News

Rabbi Solocheck ordained - Rabbi Lily Solochek ('20)

Rabbi Lily Solochek, spiritual leader of Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland, on June 7 graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

News
College News

Mazel tov to our New Rabbis

With great pride and joy, we introduce the rabbis of the graduating class of 2020/5780.

News
College News

Closing Circle Music Collaboration 5780 - Eilecha (from Psalm 30) by Adam Cerino Jones

In May 2020, three of our rabbinic students, Koach Baruch Frazier, Solomon Hoffman and Adam Cerino Jones, gathered video and audio from other members of College community to create this beautiful musical piece.

News
College News

Spotlight: Rabinnical Student Koach Baruch Frazier

I definitely want to continue to be with the people who, in my eyes, are neglected by spiritual caretakers — people of color, queer folks, people who are at the margins, disabled folks. How can I best support, particularly spiritually, the people who have for many years been neglected? So wherever that happens to be, that’s where I will be.

News
College News

The Four Children Of COVID-19

By Janine Jankovitz Pastor; Photo: eJewish Philanthropy

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy on April 1, 2020

News
College News

How to Have a Kid-Friendly, Meaningful Virtual Seder - Rabbi Tamara Cohen ('14)

If members of your crew seem a bit disappointed that this year will be different than all the others, remind them that this whole scenario is actually kinda fitting: Mitzrayim means “narrow place.” “We’re experiencing narrowing very literally right now,” Cohen says. “What we can take from that is not just a message about our own longing for liberation, but our responsibility to help others who are in places of constriction. In many ways, it’s the right holiday to have this happen.” Look on the bright side!

News