Rabbi Elizabeth Wood joined the Reform Temple of Forest Hills in September 2010 as Associate Rabbi Educator. Rabbi Wood is a graduate of Hebrew Union College (HUC) and was ordained in June, 2009. She also holds a Masters in Hebrew Letters from HUC. She holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Political Science from Indiana University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Her prior congregational experience includes Temple Beth El (Tacoma, WA) where she was the interim Director of Education/Cantorial Soloist. She has a multitude of teaching experience including Adult Education, Youth Education and Family Education.
Originally from West Lafayette, Ind., Rabbi Wood long knew she was destined to become a spiritual leader. At the age of 15, on a confirmation trip to the college where she would later be ordained, Wood was drawn to the prospect of becoming a rabbi, particularly by the rabbinical students she met. Wood grew up in a strong Reform home, celebrating all the major holidays and keeping Shabbat. Both parents have been very active in their Jewish community most of her life. Her mother first served as president of their congregation in Indiana 15 years ago and her father followed — he is the synagogue’s current president. “My family really helped infuse my Jewish identity,” Wood said. In 2004, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Jewish studies and political Science from Indiana University in Bloomington and received the Indiana University Piser Prize in Jewish Studies for most outstanding graduating senior. Wood was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a rabbinic student she served congregations in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. She also worked at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, Ind. where she was on staff for six years, first as a counselor for youth and then later as unit head. “I realized I could be who I was, be fun and young, and still be a rabbi,” Wood said. “It was a combination of how I grew up and who I was exposed to. It was a calling.”
One aspect of that calling is Wood’s love of music. Music and singing are among her greatest passions. “My most profound connections to Judaism are best expressed when I am praying, singing, teaching, learning and working with others.” Her musical experience includes serving as a rabbinic intern for the URJ’s Mifgash Musicale Conference in Cincinnati and as vocalist for “Friday Night Live” Shabbat services. “Jewish music really transcends who we are as a community.” Wood said. “It’s sacred. It’s not only important to who we are, and our heritage, but to our spirituality as well.”
Read articles and sermons by Rabbi Wood on our News page.