Our Rabbi

Rabbi Robbi Sherwin's Bio

Rabbi Robbi.jpg

Thrilled to be the Rabbi of the WRJC and commuting from Austin, Texas, Rabbi Cantor Robbi Sherwin was raised in the Air Force in small towns all over the US, where she and her 3 siblings were often the only Jewish kids in their school. Camp Young Judaea in California solidified her Jewish identity and Rabbi Robbi is forever grateful for this amazing gift. She is the biggest cheerleader for Jewish camp you will ever find.

Receiving cantorial ordination in 2003, Sherwin’s path to the rabbinate covered a range of experiences from many facets of Jewish study over the last 30 years. She has served two Reconstructionist congregations, in Portland, Oregon and Evergreen, Colorado.  She has studied with the Renewal and Conservative movements, and one of her student pulpits was the US Air Force Academy in Colorado. In both Austin and El Paso, Texas, two Reform congregations have benefitted from her leadership on and off the bimah; and Rabbi Robbi co-founded a post-denominational shul in Austin, Kol Halev. She loves being a mentor to a new generation of song leaders for the URJ and BBYO, and is a big supporter of Jewish youth groups and a staunch ally for LGBTQ Jews. In 2014, after extensive study with four Jewish movements, she received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute in New York. For the last 11 years, she was Rabbi Cantor of Congregation B’nai Butte in Crested Butte, Colorado, where she enjoyed the Rocky Mountain “chai life” with services on skis, river adventures, “Torah and Java” outreach opportunities at coffee shops, and hiking and holding services among the aspen trees on Rosh Hashana. Here, she embraced an attitude of high-altitude gratitude – she is a smitten mountain rabbi.

With such a diverse background, building kehillah – community - is Sherwin’s goal, be it through social action, food and music, her love of Israel, prayer, Torah, cultural experiences or newer contemporary themes. As a sought-after scholar/artist-in-residence, she helps communities find their own voices and deep connections to Judaism. In the extensive interfaith work she is dedicated to, she is jazzed to partner with and build something holy (and fun!) with her colleagues in the Wood River Valley. Hers is a “Big Tent” Jewish philosophy – the flaps are open wide, and everyone is welcome – she is happy to meet you wherever you are (or are not!)  

Rabbi Robbi’s “spirited Jewish songcrafting” has been sung, recorded, published and performed from Tulsa to Tel Aviv; Seattle to Sydney. Along with Steve Brodsky (Denver) and Scott Leader (Phoenix) she is one-third of the touring award-winning Jewish folk-rock band, Sababa. She has written 100 Jewish songs that are known for their accessibility, energy and memorable melodies. Her music has been included numerous publications: Voices for Israel II; Shalshelet:  The Foundation for New Jewish Music; PJ Library; Jewish Rock Records; Transcontinental’s Ruach and Shabbat Anthology series; the URJ’s Tot Shabbat curriculum; Women of Reform Judaism's 100 Anniversary CD and many, many more.  Hadassah Magazine called her music: “Feel-good mid-tempo rock, exploring traditional Jewish texts with a generous dose of American spiritual awakening.” Lilith Magazine recently gave her a shout-out as a leading female Jewish composer and three of her songs will be featured in a new Jewish feminist compilation published by Reclaiming Judaism Press in 2018.

In June 2018, Rabbi Robbi will become the president of the Women Cantors’ Network, a support and educational organization boasting around 300 female cantors and rabbis from around the world representing all streams of Judaism. She is a Life Member of Hadassah, the National Council of Jewish Women, a certified Storahtelling Maven, a passionate college football fan and an avid Mahj Jongg player. When not writing, flying, hiking, singing, flying or flying, Robbi loves to cook and bake. She and her husband, Mark Jordan, an attorney and planner specializing in resource management, have 3 adult children in Texas: Jessica (Chris), Katy & Sam and one perfect granddaughter, Kinzie, all of whom can’t wait to be a part of the WRJC family!

Email Rabbi Robbi: mailto:rabbirobbi@wrjc.org

Publications and Links: Jerusalem Post article on Rabbi Robbi:
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-human-spirit-Rabbi-on-skis-384355                                                                              Rabbi Robbi on the Jewish connection to Mahj Jongg:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/jxxlt25mq8wk7pc/Four Mothers at the Table - Final.pdf?dl=0                                                                                                                                                                        To hear Sababa’s music: http://www.SababaMusic.comhttps://www.dropbox.com/home/A Taste of Sababa/A Little Taste of Sababa                                                                                                                                                                            Discography:  Solo and with Sababa: Todah LaChem - "Thanks, Y'all" (2000); Aish HaKodesh - "The Holy Fire" (2005); Pray for the Peace (2007); It’s All Good (2010); and Shalosh - "Three" (2013).  Her 6th CD is in production." "Ma’ariv Aravim: Stand By Me,” from Music, Carrier of Intention, Creative Calm Network Publishing Group. (2014) An essay connecting the evening prayer to Great American Songbook composers: http://www.creatingcalmnetworkpublishinggroup.com/music-carrier-of-intention-authors/-maariv-aravim-stand-by-me-by-robbi-sherwin-maariv-aravim