First Black Female Rabbi In World Ordained, Coming To Greenville

It was a historic day for African-Americans, Jews and woman Saturday.

Alysa Stanton was ordained as a Rabbi in Cincinnati, Ohio.

What makes it such special occasion is that Stanton becomes the first African-American female Rabbi in the world.

The ceremony was held at the Plum Street Temple in downtown Cincinnati.

Stanton says she is proud to represent Judaism's growing diversity.

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A Cleveland native whose search for a spiritual home began at age 9 with questions about Catholicism will soon become mainstream Judaism's first black woman rabbi.

Forty-five-year-old Alysa Stanton will be ordained June 6 in Cincinnati after completing seven years of rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

She will become the rabbi at Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, N.C., on Aug. 1.

Many believe her ordination could draw more women and blacks to Jewish leadership roles.

Stanton says the road to her spiritual home has been a journey with many twists and turns. She says she didn't always feel accepted by Jewish congregations or some friends when she converted during her 20s, but she knew Judaism was where she belonged.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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