Meet the New Class: Lisbeth Ornstein

With the start of the 2023-24 school year upon us, we are highlighting members of the incoming class of students. Click here to see all of the articles in this series.

Today we’re talking with incoming Rabbinic student Lisbeth Ornstein.

Q1) Where do you live?

Pittsford, NY (a suburb of Rochester, NY).

Q2) How did you first hear of AJRCA?

I learned about AJRCA from one of my best friends, and fellow rabbinical students, Lisa Goldberg.  We are both thrilled with the community at AJRCA.

Q3) What was it about AJRCA that drew you to enroll here?

There are so many things that drew me to AJRCA. Here are a few:
1. The low residency program (and the inclusion of three residency periods per year, so there is a real opportunity to make personal connections with faculty and fellow students)
2. The true commitment to plurality and valuing each student’s Jewish background
3. The availability of attaining a full credit of CPE
4. The inclusion of 2 years of spiritual development seminars
5. The clear path to ordination with specific requirements and no stumbling blocks
6. The diversity of the faculty
7. The warm reception that I received from absolutely everyone that I spoke with at AJRCA from my very first contact
I am sure there is more, but that is a beginning.

Q4) What were you doing prior to enrolling?

Prior to enrolling I was a living in NY, working as a clinical psychologist, a profession in which I have been engaged for 30+ years.  I am now semi-retired.  As someone who clearly values relationships with others and being of service to them I am delighted that I will be able to do this within a Jewish context.

Q5) As you embark on this experience, what are you most excited about?

Again, there is so much that I am excited about:
1. Continuing to learn from the excellent faculty members 
2. The ability to study with faculty who are “icons” in their fields (e.g., Rabbi Rachel Adler, Neshama Carlebach)
3. Continuing to build relationships with students who are warm, welcoming, insightful, and academically gifted.
4. The support of AJRCA in helping me to become the kind of rabbi that I would like to be (rather than turning out cookie cutter versions of a particular style of rabbinate)
5. Engaging in a wide variety of coursework
6. Of course, the vision of achieving ordination and being able to better serve the Jewish people.  The reality of being able to achieve this goal is so inspirational.

Welcome Liz!

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