Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses
Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses is a faculty member at Mechon Hadar. She most recently served as a scholar-in-residence at UJA-Federation. She also writes about Torah and Jewish ethnicity for several anthologies and scholarly journals and for the New York Jewish Week. Before coming to UJA-Federation, Rabbi Cohler-Esses taught and consulted widely in the Jewish world in such organizations as Ma'ayan, Jewish Life Network, and The Curriculum Initiative, and served on the faculties of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning, the Hebrew Union College Kollel, and the Edgar M. Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI). She became co-director of BFYI in 1998, and served in a variety of capacities until 2005. Rabbi Cohler-Esses previously received a fellowship from CLAL—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership to study with Yitz Greenberg and to teach for CLAL. She subsequently joined their faculty, teaching in pluralist settings, while pursuing advanced study of Midrash at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She received ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1995 and is the first woman from the Syrian Jewish community to become a rabbi, as well as the first — and currently the only — person from her community to become a non-Orthodox rabbi.
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