Gay and African-American rabbi wants to shatter stereotypes of what a Jew looks like

Rabbi Georgette Kennebrae grew up in a military family that moved between Japan and Oklahoma. (Josefin Dolsten)

NEW YORK (JTA) — As a Jew of color, Rabbi Georgette Kennebrae has had her fair share of experiences that have made her feel less than welcome in the Jewish community. People sometimes assume that she is a member of the synagogue janitorial staff rather than the rabbi. Sometimes when visiting a synagogue, she’ll be asked if she’s lost.

In her position as the newly installed rabbi of West End Synagogue, a Reconstructionist congregation on the Upper West Side, Kennebrae aims to challenge notions of what a Jew looks like.

Kennebrae, 42, wants to make people “understand that I’m not rare as a Jew of color, that there are many of us and that it shouldn’t be an automatic assumption that I’m a Jew-by-choice because I’m brown,” she said at a coffee shop near her congregation.

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