Rabbi Educator

Rabbi Alyson Solomon

Rabbi Solomon joined the TBI community in June 2020 in the position of Rabbi Educator. She’s a third-generation Portlander whose family belonged to a large Reform synagogue. Her grandparents were proud Jews who scouted out Jewish community wherever they traveled. While she grew up going to Hebrew school, became bat mitzvah and even went to Israel, it wasn’t until Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI), a summer camp for young adults in Southern California, that she first studied Jewish text, dressed in white for Shabbat, made dear Jewish friends, and danced to Israeli folk music. At BCI her hunger for Jewish literacy turned on and, still true today, the more she learns, the more she wants and feels compelled to learn, share, and teach.

Learn more about Rabbi Solomon

I have been blessed to travel and live abroad, studying places and people, their stories and mine—from the Jews of Bombay, the desaparecidos of Argentina, and the child soldiers of Uganda. All of these worlds led me to look closer at my own narrative, my own texts, my own urgent call to be of service in the world. There is a Hassidic story about a person who looks the world over only to find treasure buried underneath their own home. For me, each place I travel and each community I have the privilege to serve leads me further home, into deeper understanding of myself, in greater dialogue with the world around us. This is my eleventh year as a rabbi. I’ve been part of 1250-member-unit congregations, served as a street rabbi in Venice, CA, traveled to Cape Town as a rabbi and strategic advisor, written a $20-million-dollar business plan to engage young adults in Los Angeles, and have had my own coaching and consulting practice at thisisRAS.com for seven years. Each day I aim to grow as a soul and a rabbi; in other words, I’m still becoming.

I love to teach people how to learn. By learn I mean how to sense their own questions, articulate them, and then find the Jewish conversations—both ancient and contemporary—that might bring enhanced meaning, depth and vitality into their lives. Some favorite topics I love to teach include: prayer, mussar , theology, ritual design, meditation, and Torah yoga. A few of the voices I like to share are: Rabbi Arthur Green, Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Dr. Aviva Zornberg, Rabbi Alan Lew, and Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, to name a few.

My mentors are many, thank Gd. I am blessed to have extraordinary teachers who have shared their passions and love of life and learning with me. Ruth Messinger, past President of American Jewish World Service, is one of my mentors. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, though I never learned from him directly. Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President of Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Boston, my seminary, and her brother Rabbi Steve Cohen, my first senior rabbi with whom I worked in Santa Barbara

The name that calls me forward to teach, lead and rabbi with the greatest amount of courage, purpose, and pride is Rabbi Solomon. Whether this comes out of the mouths of little ones or my elders, Rabbi Solomon places me strongly in my ancestral line, inspired by the commitments of my grandparents, dedicated to continuing to learn and grow so I can teach. I recognize there is a culture of Rabbi + First Name at TBI, and I honor it. I also know that Rabbi + Last name, for me, feels the most inclusive of who and why I am who I am. I also grew up with Rabbi + Last name and believe there’s tremendous dignity, which I aspire towards, in the opportunity of “Rabbi” both for the person striving to be one and the person calling upon one.