Dianne Cohler-Esses

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

Dianne Cohler-Esses (center).

Dianne Cohler-Esses broke new ground as not only the first woman from the Syrian-Jewish community to become a rabbi, but also the first non-Orthodox rabbi from that community. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1995, Cohler-Esses has focused her work on education and outreach through Mishpacha, an online education and support program for Jewish families across America, and through teaching with programs ranging from CLAL, the Center for Leadership and Learning, to the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, where she served as co-director and senior educator. As of 2023, she serves as rabbi and director of lifelong learning for Romemu, a New York City-based congregation and spiritual community. She also lectures at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 2007 Washington Post online named her one of the top fifty rabbis. Cohler-Esses has written about her struggle for acceptance within the Syrian community, explaining her desire to become a rabbi to friends and family and describing the painful and surprisingly beautiful process of seeking permission to deliver her father’s eulogy at his Orthodox synagogue. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Dianne Cohler-Esses." (Viewed on April 16, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/cohler-esses-dianne>.