Meet Rabbi Robbi

Rabbi Robbi Sherwin joined the Wood River Jewish Community as our spiritual leader on February 1, 2018.

Rabbi  Robbi (as she likes to be called) was raised in the Air Force in small towns all over the U.S., where she and her three 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. 

Rabbi Robbi received her cantorial ordination in 2003. Her 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 U.S. 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. 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 Hashanah. Here, she embraced an attitude of high-altitude gratitude –- she is a smitten mountain rabbi.

 

With such a diverse background, building kehillah--community--is Rabbi Robbi'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 gave her a shout-out as a leading female Jewish composer and three of her songs were featured in a new Jewish feminist compilation published by Reclaiming Judaism Press in 2018.

Rabbi Robbi is also the Immediate Past President of the Women Cantors’ Network, a support and educational organization which includes over 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 Mah Jongg player.

 

When not writing, flying, hiking, singing, flying or flying, Rabbi Robbi loves to cook and bake. She and her husband, Mark Jordan, an attorney and planner specializing in resource management, have three adult children: Jessica (Chris), and grandkids Kinzie and Clark in Denver; Katy (Brett) and granddaughter, Lilah, in Austin, and son, Sam, also in Austin.

They are all excited to be part of the WRJC family!

 

Email Rabbi Robbi: rabbirobbi@wrjc.org