Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
Rabbi Goldstein is known throughout Canada as an outstanding educator. She founded Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in 1991; she was its director and principal teacher for 20 years. Kolel was recognized worldwide as a leading institution in the field of Jewish adult education. In 2005 she was awarded North America’s highest honour for Jewish Education: The Covenant Award For Outstanding Educators. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ryerson University in 2017 for her work in Canada.
Rabbi Goldstein is also known as a community activist and public speaker. She served on the Canadian National Board of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger and was an elected officer of Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario region. She is the first woman to be elected president of the interdenominational Toronto Board of Rabbis and is the past president of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. She has been a guest lecturer at universities and Jewish and Christian organizations throughout North America, Israel, and Great Britain, including numerous radio and T.V. appearances. She is one of seven women featured in the Canadian National Film Board documentary, “Half the Kingdom.”
Rabbi Goldstein is a prolific writer, columnist and theological reflector. Her first book, "ReVisions: Seeing Torah Through a Feminist Lens" won the Canadian National Jewish Book Awards in the field of Bible. Another, "New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future", won finalist in The National Jewish Book Awards.
With a rich background in the congregational rabbinate (pastoral ministry), Rabbi Goldstein has served at Temple Beth Or of the Deaf, where she became proficient in sign language, serving the Jewish deaf. After ordination, she was assistant Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.
She takes pleasure in cycling, travelling, gourmet food, singing in the MNJCC Community Choir, and the six months she spent on the Frozen Chosen Interfaith Clergy Curling Team (no joke). She also wrote and acted in a Fringe Festival play called The Clergy Project, about life as a female Rabbi in the 21st century, which won Best of Fringe in 2016.