Rabbi Debora S. Gordon
Rabbi Gordon was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997 and came directly to Congregation Berith Sholom. In her over 2 decades in New York’s Capital District, she has guided Berith Sholom into a dynamic congregation of learners and leaders, while the congregation has nurtured Rabbi Gordon in practices of Tikkun Olam, deeds that repair the world. Her partnership with Cantorial Associate Emerita Leslie Boyer led to the development of a dedicated volunteer Choir with a wide-ranging repertoire, whose members now serve as the chazzanim/chazzaniot (prayer leaders) for High Holy Days.
“Reb Deb” leads most Shabbat services with her guitar and is always open to experimentation and new ideas. Making meaning through Jewish music and text is a passion she inherited from both grandfathers; she passes it on through teaching, davvening (praying), and storytelling grounded in everyday experience as well as Jewish tradition.
She grew up in the Reform Movement, attending summer camp at Oconomowoc (OSRUI) and Camp Swig. In that immersive Jewish environment she first learned to use the Jewish past as a framework for finding and creating k’dushah (holiness) in contemporary life. Today she renews that love by serving as faculty at Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge. She tutors the congregation’s b’nei mitzvah kids, facilitates a monthly intergenerational Shabbat B’Yachad (Shabbat Together) dinner and program, and currently teaches in the Troy Jewish Community Religious School.
For adults, she leads weekly Torah study, runs an Adult B’nei Mitzvah program, teaches beginning Hebrew, and has facilitated a Sacred Aging group for caretakers of elderly adults. In 2017 she founded Smarter Than Abraham, a support group for local Jewish parents facing exceptional parenting challenges, in partnership with Jewish Family Services of NENY. Rabbi Gordon is a founding member of the local chapters of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, member and past president of the Capital District Board of Rabbis, past member of the Sidney Albert Lectureship Board at the College of St. Rose, and on the Board of Troy Area United Ministries. She has taught in the Religious Studies Department at Siena College, was a 2012 Brickner Clergy Fellow at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and has visited Israel and the West Bank with T’ruah (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights-North America).
Rabbi Gordon’s interests range from Ancient Near Eastern law codes to Black Lives Matter, from computers to watercolor. When she is not doing any of those things, she lives on a few acres in Brunswick with her wife, their children, and an assortment of dogs, cats, birds, goats, chickens, and ducks. You can find her on Facebook.com/RebDebGordon, Twitter @RebDebGordon, and Instagram as RebDebGordon.