Alicia Jo Rabins
With her indie rock song cycle Girls in Trouble, musician Alicia Jo Rabins reinterpreted the women of the Bible for a modern audience. Rabins began playing the violin at age three at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and writing poetry at age eleven. After graduating from Barnard College in 1998, she spent two years studying at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. Upon her return to the United States, she earned a master’s degree in Jewish women’s studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007. Her thesis, which aimed to find new ways to teach about the women of the Bible, evolved into the Girls in Trouble song cycle, first performed at the Jewish Museum in New York in 2008. Rabins later developed the Girls in Trouble curriculum, based on her song cycle, and has worked with JWA to offer condensed version of the lessons. She also spent eight years touring with the klezmer punk band Golem and served as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department, performing in Central America in 2009 and Kuwait in 2011. Continuing her multifaceted exploration of Jewish culture and tradition, Rabins created a rock musical, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff (2014), which in 2021 was adapted into an independent film. Also in 2014, she began writing a regular column for Kveller interpreting the weekly Torah portions through her experiences as a new mother. She continued to write poetry, earning an MFA from Warren Wilson College in 2009 and receiving the Honickman First Book Prize for her collection Divinity School in 2015. In 2018, she published her second poetry collection, Fruit Geode, which was a finalist for the Jewish book award. In 2022, she published an essay collection titled Even God Had Bad Parenting Days.