Author Archives: Elianna Yolkut

Elianna Yolkut

About Elianna Yolkut

Elianna Yolkut is a rabbi without borders, thinker and educator who strives to bring comfort, Jewish wisdom and connection to people at all life stages through a deeper engagement with Judaism. Ordained in 2006 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, she was later an adjunct faculty member there while serving as assistant rabbi at the Conservative synagogue Adat Ari El in nearby Valley Village. Elly, who holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Sociology from Brandeis University, now lives with her partner and their young twins in Washington D.C. (Learn more at www.rabbielianna.com)

My Journey from the Closet to the Pulpit

Inspired by Ari Naveh’s reflections on joining the rabbinate as a gay man, Elianna Yolkut looks back on her own journey from the closet to the pulpit on the Rabbi’s Without Borders blog.

Reading Ariel Naveh’s two-part story on the Keshet blog about being an openly gay rabbinical student, I remembered my own experience eight years ago as I prepared for ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. I wondered what my life would be like as a rabbi who was gay. I stayed up late at night and worried: Would I get a job? I wondered would I find a place that would accept my partner and offer her the same benefits of an opposite-sex spouse. I wondered if I could even make it safely through rabbinical school. There were so many things to ponder I barely had time to consider what it meant to actually be a gay rabbi.

When I applied for and accepted my first pulpit in the summer of 2006, I was closeted. The senior rabbi, the head of the search committee and the president of the synagogue all were in the dark about it, and I was scared: scared of getting found out, scared of losing the many opportunities which had been laid before me. Continue reading here>>

Posted on February 7, 2014

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