Rabbi Debra Kolodny (Rabbah D’vorah) is a veteran of several social justice movements, bringing a spiritual perspective and her activist passion to worker’s rights as well as women’s, environmental, peace and LGBTQ causes since 1981.
Most recently (from 2013-2015) she served as Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBTQ retreat and advocacy organization committed to a more just and inclusive world. Prior to her tenure at Nehirim she served as the rabbi at Pnai Or in Portland, Oregon for three years.
From 2002 until 2011 she served as Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the headquarters organization of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi zt”l (may the memory of the righteous be a blessing), a fundamental tenet of Jewish Renewal is Deep Ecumenism: the imperative to connect to the deep well of truth shared by all traditions.
Rabbah D’vorah has taken this directive to heart. Since 1998 she has worked at the intersection of faith traditions, a place she considers to be a fulcrum of power and potential in multiple capacities.
A tai chi practitioner since 1996, Rabbah D’vorah was the facilitator of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable from 1998-2004, helping shepherd this interfaith consortium of Welcoming and pro-LGBTQ faith traditions housed at The Task Force. For the next six years she retreated annually at Kashi Ashram, learning from Guru Ma Jaya Sati Baghavati. From 2005 until 2011 she worked with Dr. Rudy Bauer privately and for a period in group meditation at the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies. In 2011 she co-created and co-taught with Ibrahim Baba, a Sufi Sheikh and the Provost of the Starr King Seminary a week-long Jewish/Sufi workshop filled with mystical practice, prayer and text study. In 2015 she conceived and co-led Bosom of Abraham: Rocking our Sufi, Jewish and Christian souls with Sufi Guide Arifa Byron and UCC Pastor Jennifer Brownell. This interspiritual prayer, learning and practice community in Portland, Oregon brought chant, zikr, learning and meditation together in a unique experienced that went beyond polite dialogue and cultivated expanded consciousness.
In addition to her spiritual practice, leadership and activism, Rabbah D’vorah has taught in hundreds of venues on the topics of Judaism and sexual orientation, gender identity, prayer, environmentalism, Eco-Kashrut, mysticism, deep ecumenism, healing the wounds created by religion, text study and more.
She published Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith in 2000 as well as dozens of essays and interviews in anthologies and magazines on prayer, ritual, Torah, sexuality and a spiritual/theological foundation for peace and human rights. Daily prayer, meditation, ecstatic dance and taiji help make life a glorious adventure!
Rabbah D’vorah graduated from Cornell in 1981, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985 and from the ALEPH Jewish Renewal Seminary in 2011.