PITTSBURGH-The path to the pulpit has been a long and winding journey for Alysa Stanton, the United States' first female African American rabbi. Stanton will share her life experiences during a free public lecture titled “Layers of Healing, Layers of Hope” at 7:30 p.m. March 3 in the Ballroom of Pitt's William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland.
Born to a Christian family in Cleveland, Ohio, Stanton converted to Judaism at age 24. She completed seven years of rabbinical training at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion before assuming the role of rabbi of Congregation Bayt Shalom, a 60-family synagogue in Greenville, N.C., in June 2009.
Prior to converting to Judaism and preparing for the rabbinate, Stanton worked as a psychotherapist specializing in grief counseling; her counseling experience includes the treatment of individuals affected by the murderous 1999 shooting rampage at Columbine High School.
She is an alumnus of Colorado State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1988 and a master's degree in education in 1992; she received a professional counselor's license in 1998.
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