The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Sharon Brous

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Sharon Brous until we are able to commission a full entry.

Rabbi Sharon Brous, photo courtesy of Sharon Brous.

Sharon Brous founded IKAR (essence), a community blending innovative spirituality and strong social justice values to reengage disaffected Jews. Brous graduated from Columbia in 1995 before earning both ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia in 2001. The first student to enroll in Columbia’s program to study human rights through a religious lens, she wrote her thesis on applying Jewish ideas of forgiveness to international problems. She co-founded IKAR in Los Angeles in 2004, and since then has regularly been honored as one of the Forward 50 and Newsweek/The Daily Beast’s 50 most influential rabbis, becoming the youngest rabbi to earn the top slot on The Daily Beast’s list in 2013. Earlier that year, she had offered a prayer at President Obama’s inaugural prayer service. A charismatic speaker, she serves on the faculty of the think tank REBOOT and of Hebrew Union College, as well as the international council of the New Israel Fund and the rabbinic advisory council of the American Jewish World Service. In 2016 IKAR joined six other experimental Jewish communities across the country to form the Jewish Emergent Network. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sharon Brous." (Viewed on October 4, 2022) <>.


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