Rabbi Elyse Winick has worked to engage a diverse Jewish community throughout her career. After Winick's ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary, she has served as Assistant Director of Brandeis University Hillel, Director of KOACH, and the Jewish Chaplain at Brandeis. During this time, she led Taglit-Birthright trips to Israel for individuals with autistic spectrum and related disorders. Winick is currently the Senior Director of Learning and Education at Combined Jewish Philanthropies and a member of the faculty of M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Learning.
Elyse recalls her early Jewish memories and upbringing, celebrating Passover with her family and friends, attending synagogue and Hebrew school, and being more observant in her home. In college, Elyse was introduced to a rabbinical student from the Jewish Theological Seminary, studied women rabbis as part of a class project, and was encouraged by her Hillel rabbi to pursue rabbinical school. These experiences influenced her decision to become a rabbi. She started at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986. Elyse describes her cohort of female rabbinic students and the "trailblazers" that came before her. She considers on the challenges for women rabbis today and how they might have been different fifty years ago. Elyse discusses her current position and serves as the Jewish chaplain at Brandeis University and the relationships she has with the students she counsels. Finally, Rabbi Winick reflects on her understanding of God and how Judaism helps her navigate personal crises.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Elyse Winick. Interviewed by Lynne Himelstein. 23 March 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 29, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/winick-elyse>.
Oral History of Elyse Winick by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.