Zoe Klein has blended her work as a rabbi and her craft as a novelist to help congregants find meaning in the stories of their own lives. Klein grew up in Danbury, CT, where she attended Wooster, an Episcopalian school which challenged her to reflect more deeply on her own beliefs. She then connected more fully with her Jewish heritage at Brandeis University and through a year abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, later turning 600 pages of her letters home into the seeds of a novel. After she graduated from Brandeis, she pursued ordination at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, where she began writing a coda to the Book of Jeremiah from the perspective of the prophet’s imagined female acolyte and lover, Anatiya. Over time, this evolved into her first novel, Drawing in the Dust (2009). After her ordination in 1998, Klein became rabbi of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, where she still serves as of 2017. She continues to interweave her writing and pastoral work, contributing a chapter to the Women’s Torah Commentary and crafting short stories for Harper’s Bazaar and other journals while using her storytelling talents to help congregants process the emotions surrounding weddings, funerals, and other lifecycle events.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Zoe Klein." (Viewed on March 24, 2019) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/klein-zoe>.