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Sandra  Lawson

Sandra Lawson

Rabbinical Student & Sociologist


Sandra Lawson is a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, in Wyncote PA just outside of Philadelphia. Prior to starting rabbinical school and moving to Philadelphia, Sandra 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 >

After the military she started a personal trainer business, and put herself through graduate school and obtaining a Masters Degree in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University. After graduate school Sandra worked as an Adjunct Instructor of sociology, and 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.

These days Sandra is using her rabbinic training to bring Judaism to where people already are in their lives. She has lead shabbat services in a vegan cafe and was recently listed as one of the famous Jews to follow on Snapchat. Sandra sees herself as a 21st century rabbi connecting to people through music and technology. As a black queer Jew she hopes to use her Rabbinic training to bring attention to Jewish diversity, environmental issues and poverty. Read Less ^

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.

Connect with Sandra Lawson