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Sandra  Lawson

Sandra Lawson

Rabbi & Sociologist


Rabbi Sandra Lawson received ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2018. She was born in St. Louis, Mo. and grew up in a military family. She graduated from Saint Leo University magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University. Rabbi Sandra has served in the United States Army, as a Military Police person with a specialty in Military Police Investigations, specializing in cases involving child abuse and domestic violence. Read More >

Upon leaving the military she started a personal training business and later worked as an Adjunct Instructor of Sociology at local community colleges. 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. Rabbi Sandra uses her rabbinic training to bring Judaism to where people already are in their lives. As a rabbinical student Rabbi Sandra received a prestigious grant to lead shabbat services for unaffiliated Jews in a vegan cafe, she also received a grant to launch her podcast Minutes of Torah.

Rabbi Sandra’s vision as a Rabbi is to help build a more inclusive Jewish community where all who want to come are welcomed, diversity is embraced and we can come together to learn and to pray. This summer Rabbi Sandra starts the next chapter of her journey as an Associate Chaplain at Elon University, in Elon North Carolina. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

My Story of Becoming Jewish

Speech Topics

My Journey to Judaism & Becoming a Rabbi

Sandra Lawson grew up in a non-religious home, in a military family. While in college she joined the United States army and in 2004 converted to Judaism. Then in 2011 she became the first African-American, accepted into the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Black, Jewish & Queer: Navigating Judaism with Multiple Identities & Building Bridges

Sandra Lawson sees her multiple identities as an asset and uses her identities as a bridge builder. Her 21st century rabbinate takes her from nursing homes, to cafes, to the world of social media where she uses the aspects of her identity to connect with others.

Thinking Outside the Box Called Judaism

Jews want to engage in Jewish life and want to be part of a Jewish community. For many Jews the current model of the synagogue does not work and it is time to create innovative ways to connect to Jews. And to create different models of what it means to be a rabbi in the 21st century. Through technology, music and prayer Sandra is using her rabbinic training to meet Jews where they are in their lives and she is creating sacred spaces outside the boundaries of synagogues.

Books & Media


Podcast: Hineni (Here I Am)