“I am like an olive tree in the house of God, trusting in God's faithful love forever. I will praise You always for what You have done. I will proclaim before the faithful that Your name is good.” Psalms 52:10-11
I come to love God’s way and God’s people because I have been afforded the awesome gift of tremendous love. The rabbinate is an opportunity to share and spread that love through Judaism.
Rabbi Elyssa is an artist, yogi, musician, and Founding Director of Ivrim Jews Without Borders. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, BU School of Theology, and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Rabbi Elyssa has published in The Forward, eJewish Philanthropy, the journal Kerem, has contributed several times to the “Ask the Rabbis” section in Moment Magazine, and has a poem published in the volume When We Turned Within: Reflections on COVID-19. She is a trained mikveh guide, has led Hallel with Women of the Wall in Jerusalem, and was a "rabbi on the road" for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Rabbi Elyssa is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and was named one of America’s 33 most inspiring rabbis of 2015 by The Forward. She has held pulpits in Conservative and Reform congregations in Florida, Ohio, Maryland and Alaska. She is a devoted wife and mother.
In my own prayer life, I find that the embodiment of the tallit is a nurturing symbol of God’s embracing love. Being a tallit artist entails having a concern for aesthetic and symbolism.
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” is really teaching us that the world is always more –simply through love. Acting in the world with love, instead of hate or fear, or indifference, is, at its core, the totality of Torah!
Yoga is very much about emunah—faith—in oneself and in God. That recognition and trust is already half the practice.
Much of my work is religiously motivated, either pursuing spiritual ideas, or working from Biblical accounts and stories. Art is one of my pathways to expressing the deep joy and pain in being part of God’s creation.