First black female rabbi says she ‘wants to break down barriers’ (video)

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

CINCINNATI – Alysa Stanton has become the first black female rabbi. She and thirteen others were ordained by the president of the Hebrew Union College at the Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday.

Stanton grew up in a Pentecostal Christian home but she found her spiritual calling in Judaism. She is making history after seven years of studying at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. It’s the oldest institution of higher Jewish education of Reform Judaism in the United States.

“I started to cry when he said he was honored to call me a Rabbi, to bestow the ordination of Rabbi on me, because at that moment, it’s really real,” said Rabbi Stanton.

Rabbi Stanton also graduated on Sunday with a master’s degree in Hebrew letters.

Later this summer, she will serve as rabbi of the predominately white Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, North Carolina.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Stanton said her goals are to break down barriers, build bridges and provide hope.