Rabbi Sandra Lawson
Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.
Madam Walker Legacy Center Ballroom
Rabbi Sandra Lawson’s vision has long been to build a more inclusive Jewish community where all whom want to come are welcomed and diversity is embraced.
An unlikely candidate for rabbinical college, Rabbi Sandra, as she likes to be called, will herself attest to the meaning she finds in changing the image of rabbis for the Jewish community. She takes pride in knowing her visibility teaches others.
“Yes, you can be all of these things. You can be queer, you can be Black, you can be Brown, and you can be a rabbi,” she told Jews of Color Initiative.
Also known as the Snapchat Rabbi, she takes her practice out of the synagogue and onto social media.
"... We have to do a better job of knowing where people are. And for me, that means that if an overwhelming number of unaffiliated Jews use social media, then that’s where I’m gonna be. Let’s say I find out one morning that there’s a whole bunch of Jews hanging out in the park — guess where I’m going," Rabbi Sandra told Jews of Color Initiative.
Rabbi Sandra teaches the Torah on Instagram or TikTok and shares videos of herself singing and playing guitar to Jewish songs and prayers. She has also been known to lead Shabbat services in a café.
Before receiving her ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Sandra served in the United States Army as a military police officer specializing in investigations. Upon leaving the military, she started a personal training business and later utilized her sociology degree to teach as an adjunct instructor of at a local college.
She has also served as the investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast Region, becoming the “go-to” person when law enforcement in the South needed information on hate groups.