Rabbi Elyssa Joy Auster is delighted to return for the SRQ Jews Without Borders Open Door High Holy Days, after an uplifting, moving, and spiritual time together last year.

Rabbi Elyssa is the Rabbi and Director of Jewish Life at the JCC of Greater Washington. Before coming to the Washington DC area, Rabbi Elyssa served as the Rabbi and sole clergy for Temple Judea, a Conservative congregation in Ft. Myers Florida, where she was a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism two-time grant winner for Young Adult programming.

After completing a BA at Brandeis University and a Masters of Theological Studies at Boston University School of Theology (where she studied alongside those entering the Methodist ministry), Rabbi Elyssa went on to pursue her love of God and Torah in the rabbinate. She received rabbinic smicha and a Masters of Jewish Education from Hebrew College of Newton, MA in 2011. While still in school, she held the pulpit of a Reform congregation in Fairbanks, Alaska over the course of three years. Rabbi Elyssa has also served as rabbi, cantor, and Jewish educator in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio.

Rabbi Elyssa has been published in "The Forward" and in "eJewish Philanthropy," is a trained mikveh guide, has led Hallel with Women of the Wall in Jerusalem, and has two children's books she wrote and illustrated and hopes to publish. She was a "Rabbi on the Road" for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, is an innovator in prayer services, and a teacher of contemplative Judaism in diverse venues from college campuses to the OHALAH Clergy Association conference. Rabbi Elyssa was a 2013-2014 Rabbis Without Borders fellow.

Over the summer of 2014, Rabbi Elyssa sang contemporary chants of the Psalms in the Scottish Hebrides, lead Shabbat services in Dublin, Ireland, and taught a course at the National Havurah Institute in Rindge, New Hampshire.

Rabbi Elyssa is an artist, tallit maker, and a certified yoga teacher. She is married to another passionate clergyperson, Hazzan Matthew Klein.  www.elyssajoyauster.com