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A Jew by choice, Steven was first welcomed into Jewish life by Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR, an LA-based spiritual community. He came full circle when he took on the role of Associate Rabbi of Mishkan Chicago, another welcoming and inclusive spiritual community.
Upon earning his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Steven set out to live by the mission of "understand(ing) the soul of the stranger, because we have been strangers (Exodus 23:9)."
Steven strives to create safe spaces for people to explore their Judaism and various identities without fear of judgment, reproach, or exile. He believes in building Jewish spaces that don't just make room for everyone--but that embrace every member of the community in their unique Jewish journey and individuality.
A dedicated student, Steven earned a Master of Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford and a Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago.
He also supports a variety of Jewish organizations, including serving as a board member of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, where he helps advance racial and economic justice for Chicagoans, as a Rukin Rabbinic Fellow with 18Doors, which empowers Jewish interfaith couples and families, and as the Director of Maggie's Place through Mishkan Chicago, which provides referrals for social services, support groups for trans and non-binary members of the Mishkan community, and counseling services.
Associate Rabbi at Mishkan Chicago
ON THE SIDE:
Exploring new cuisines, going to concerts and music festivals, dancing the night away, hitting the gym, playing video games, and making sure my cat still tolerates me
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 10 WORDS OR LESS:
Queer, convert, rabbi for anyone who feels they don't belong
SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME:
I have a strong nerdy streak, with Pokémon and Sailor Moon being perennial favorites. My enthusiasm is rarely matched by skill, although I'm getting better at beating my boyfriend in Pokémon battles.
In spirit, Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls - energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic to a fault, terrible poker face
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
Choose the people who choose you. You deserve to be loved – sometimes this looks like being celebrated, sometimes this looks like being comforted, sometimes this looks like being challenged to be your best self, but always coming from a place of loving you for you.