U.S. has first black female Jewish rabbi

June 7, 2009 at 2:04 PM
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CINCINNATI, June 7 (UPI) -- The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion says Alysa Stanton has become the first black female Jewish rabbi in U.S. history.

The Reform Judaism educational site confirmed Stanton was among 14 individuals ordained Saturday as rabbis at the college's campus in Cincinnati, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Stanton, a native of Cleveland, spoke during the ceremony regarding her new role as the nation's first-ever rabbi who is black and a woman.

"I am honored to be a visual presence of the 'new face' of Judaism," Stanton, 45, said. "My goals as a rabbi are to break down barriers, build bridges and provide hope."

"Here I stand: blessed, happy and proud of the successes that have become a part of my history," Stanton added in a written rabbinical ordination prose. "I look forward to the promising path that lies ahead, with each step guided by my faith, my village and my god."

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