Stephanie Crawley returns to a familiar congregation

Rabbi Stephanie Crawley. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Stephanie Crawley

When Rabbi Stephanie Crawley became Temple Micah’s new assistant rabbi last month, her first order of business was to get to know Jewish Washington.

“My big project is to have conversations with as many people as I can and start to figure out what it really means to be Jewish living in the D.C. metro area, and to let that guide my work,” she said.

For Crawley, 30, who was ordained in May from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, that means leading adult education classes, socializing with members of Temple Micah’s young adults group and working with teenagers in the religious school. That’s in addition to leading services and officiating life-cycle events.

Crawley follows Rabbi Susan Landau as assistant rabbi. While this is Crawley’s first pulpit position, she spent three years before she entered rabbinical school at Temple Micah as part of a fellowship with the congregation. During that time she worked as the congregation’s outreach coordinator, and also did some teaching in the religious school. She said Senior Rabbi

Daniel Zemel frequently gave her lists of books she should read.

“I felt very lucky to have the relationships and the mentorships that came out of that time,” she said.

Crawley said she thinks services are most meaningful when the prayers and songs are chosen thoughtfully.

“A service should be something people don’t feel is a performance, but that people feel they can pray,” she said. “Something that makes everyone feel a little bit differently.”

Crawley is also a self-described “baseball and tacos” fan. She said she is still loyal to her hometown St. Louis Cardinals, but will cheer on the Nationals whenever the teams are not playing each other.

As for tacos, finding the right one is a secondary mission for her. Because she is a vegetarian, her options are more limited.

“I am on the hunt for the best tacos in D.C.,” she said.


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