Cleveland native Alysa Stanton, 45, was one of 14 rabbis ordained on Saturday, June 6 at the Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati. She is the first African-American, female to be ordained a rabbi in the United States, according to the NewYorkTimes.com. Stanton converted to Juddaism 20-years ago after being brought up in the Pentecostal faith.
Stanton is a single mom who adopted her 14-year old daughter as an infant. She recalls the difficulties she has faced as a Black woman during her time as a rabbinical student when she was the only one denied a visa to study in Israel, when he daughter was ridiculed and beaten by Israeli children in Jerusalem for being Black and when he Black Christian friends turned their backs on her for selling out. But for the last seven years she stuck it out and now celebrates her ordination as she looks forward to becoming the spiritual leader of Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, South Carolina in August. -WLW