Rabbinical School of Hebrew College Alumna Rabbi Elyssa Auster Named One of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis”

Serves as Director of Jewish Life at Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, D.C., and visiting rabbi at B’er Chayim Temple in Cumberland, Md.


Rabbi Elyssa Auster, a 2011 graduate of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis for 2015. Based on hundreds of nominations by the publication’s readers, The Forward recognized Auster as being among “33 of the most inspiring men and women from North America who are defining and redefining what it means to be a rabbi in the 21st century.”

In Auster’s primary position as director of Jewish Life at the JCC of Greater Washington, she is responsible for bringing Jewish content in a variety of ways to people of all ages. In addition, she serves as a visiting rabbi at B’er Chayim Temple, one of the oldest continuously operating synagogues in the United States. Congregants recognize Auster for a variety of key strengths, including prayer leadership, learning opportunities for adults and children, and a high level of enthusiasm, all of which has had a significant impact on the community.

“She has given me, and others in our congregation, a renewed sense of excitement about our own Judaism,” noted Deb Litman, president of the synagogue in nominating Rabbi Elyssa.

“We are so gratified to see Elyssa recognized by The Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis. Only four years after being ordained, she has already emerged as a communal leader of exceptional talent, spiritual depth, creativity, integrity and compassion,” commented Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, dean of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. “Elyssa is bringing our vision to life in wonderful ways; she embodies many of the core values that define our rigorous, relevant and pluralistic approach to rabbinic education, and that distinguish the work of our alumni in a wide range of communal settings.”    

In receiving this recognition, Auster shared, “I am humbled in being named one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis. I am grateful for the people I am fortunate to work with at the JCCGW, the opportunity to serve the wonderful congregants of B’er Chayim Temple and the knowledge, experience and training I received as a rabbinical student at Hebrew College that helped shape my role and the values that I bring to my work, and to my life as a rabbi.”

 About Hebrew College 

Hebrew College promotes excellence in Jewish learning and leadership within a pluralistic environment of open inquiry, intellectual rigor, personal engagement and spiritual creativity. The college empowers and inspires individuals to contribute their voices and vision to the Jewish community and to bring Jewish values to bear on the critical issues of our time. For more information, visit http://www.hebrewcollege.edu.

About The Forward 

The Jewish Daily Forward, widely regarded as American Jewry's essential, independent news organization, delivering incisive coverage of the issues, ideas and institutions that matter to American Jews with rigorous, unbiased reporting and balanced, thoughtful commentary on news, politics, arts and culture. For more information, visit http://forward.com.