From Pastor’s Daughter to Rabbi

Raised in the Lutheran church in Pennsylvania, Heidi Hoover embraced Judaism -- and then the rabbinate.

Heidi Hoover is the rabbi of Beth Shalom v’Emeth, a Reform synagogue in Brooklyn. And while her journey to the pulpit might have been natural, the rabbinate was anything but.

Hoover was raised outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her father, the Rev. B. Penrose Hoover, was a pastor in a Lutheran church, and later a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, overseeing about 250 congregations.

Heidi Hoover’s journey to the rabbinate began with her boyfriend, now husband, Michael Rose, who is Jewish. Hoover began attending synagogue with him and discovered a love of Jewish traditions.

Her decision to convert didn’t go over well with her father at first. But her father eventually came around and even delivered a blessing at Hoover’s installation. The family joke is that Hoover has continued in the family business — just in a different division.

See more of her story in this video.

Are you considering conversion to Judaism? Sign up here for a special email series that will guide you through everything you need to know.

Discover More

How To Create Your Own At-Home Kaddish Minyan

Every Tuesday for a year, we came together — for a memorial service, yes, but also to experience Jewish community in a new way.

Why I Converted to Judaism

My involvement with Judaism began with a Jewish boyfriend, but I ultimately converted for myself.

The Traveler’s Prayer: What You Say Along the Way

In Judaism, it is the journey, not the destination, that matters.