Shira Stutman

Shira Stutman’s belief in the importance of “radical welcoming” informs everything about the way she cultivates community as senior rabbi of Washington DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. After graduating from Columbia University in 1995, Stutman worked as education director of Or Shalom Jewish Community in San Francisco and executive director of Lights in Action, a non-denominational Jewish group which facilitates student programs and leadership training. She spent a year travelling through Asia and South America, where she appreciated Chabad’s policy of meeting Jews wherever they are on the continuum of Jewish practice while offering them opportunities to engage more deeply. After her ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2007, she became the Director of Jewish Programming at Sixth & I in 2010. There she practices what she calls “radical welcoming,” which involves offering both traditional and more creative prayer experiences, leading and supporting social justice initiatives, and welcoming interfaith couples and spiritual seekers. She also engages in activism through her work on the board of Jews United for Justice and the J Street rabbinic cabinet. She was honored as one of the Forward 50 in 2013 for her impact on the Jewish community.

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Your Hadassah piece reminds me of my late husband, Richard Bitterman, who originally made jewelry out of scrap metal. Asked by fellow (Reform) congregants to make Judaica, he was very reluctant, saying "I don't want to make mistakes--they could be sacrilegious." He was finally convinced that "anything goes" and went on to a long, successful trnsatlantic career creating objects for home and synagogue.

Rabbi Shira Stutman, photo courtesy of Rabbi Stutman.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Shira Stutman." (Viewed on January 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/stutman-shira>.

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