These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[Student Profile] Rabbi Julie K. Gordon

Posted on January 19, 2011 by David Bogomolny

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This mother of two enjoys cooking unusual cuisines, going to the movies, reading David Grossman novels, people watching, and listening to others. She’s also a rabbi with 26 years of professional Jewish communal experience, and she’s a student in the Pardes Educators Program.

“At Pardes I’ve found a group of people who ask Jewish questions, and there’s such a strong community feeling here… I feel energized, supported, cared about, and empowered to bring along other students who are exploring their Jewish identities!”

Rabbi Julie (Educators ’12) was born in Albert Lea, MN – a town of 20,000 people with ten Jewish families and no synagogue – four of the Jewish families shared her last name. In college, Rabbi Julie majored in Jewish studies, and then attended graduate school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1984, she was ordained by Hebrew Union College, and after working at the Park Slope Jewish Center for three years, she returned to Minnesota, served as a pulpit rabbi in St. Paul for 14 years, and then served as an educator/principal in Jewish educational institutions for another nine years.

Today, she is fulfilling a many years-old promise to herself: to study Torah in Israel again. Rabbi Julie studied in Israel for two years in the late 70’s, and as a Jewish professional, she had the special opportunity to visit Israel more than twenty times, but she always, always wanted to remain for longer. “I love Israel,” she glows gently, “being here fills my soul.”

For the first time in 25 years, Rabbi Julie is not living with either of her children, and she has decided to finally make her dream come true. Her daughter Shoshana (25 yrs old) is studying library science in graduate school at the University of Maryland, and her son Ari (22 yrs old) is completing his undergraduate work in mathematics, economics, and Jewish studies at Indiana University Bloomington. Both of them have embarked upon their own life journeys.

Rabbi Julie’s loves for her children, Israel, Jewish education and studying Torah at Pardes are as heart warming, as she is wonderful. Her future students will be very lucky to have her 🙂