Amy Bernstein has used her position as rabbi of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country to create the kind of welcoming community that she longed for at an earlier age. Raised Orthodox, Bernstein left yeshiva at age sixteen in part because her emerging identity as both a feminist and a lesbian brought her into conflict with the school’s understanding of Jewish practice. After graduating from Northwestern University in 1987, she began working at the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta. She struggled to find a place in the Jewish community until she attended an LGBT synagogue for High Holidays and was immediately tapped to lead portions of the service. That profound experience ultimately drew her to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she was ordained in 1997. She served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Duluth, Minnesota for fourteen years before becoming associate rabbi of Kehillat Israel in Los Angeles, one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country, in 2010. She was promoted to senior rabbi in 2014.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Amy Bernstein." (Viewed on March 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/bernstein-amy>.