Rabbi and Jewish Spiritual Leader
Rabbi Debbie comes to IFFP via a circuitous path in almost all senses of the word. Born in Santiago, Chile, she has been a resident of the DC suburbs since the age of three. She attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, and did her undergraduate and law school studies at Georgetown University. She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997 with a joint degree in Law and a Master of Public Health (from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health). She spent a decade working in the health policy arena. Finding that this profession was a poor fit, she switched gears and began working at the Georgetown University Department of Campus Ministry (with Rabbi Harold White — IFFP’s Rabbi Emeritus) as a programmatic professional. In this capacity, she worked with Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and other religious colleagues to support a student population with religious offerings in their own beliefs, and opportunities for meaningful interfaith interaction. It was in this environment that she found her calling to become a rabbi.
Ordained in January 2012 from the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute, Rabbi Debbie was trained as a Jewish Universalist rabbi. This formation included learning from Jewish Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Humanist movements. She now blends these teachings to present a modern Jewish worldview that is rooted in tradition but adapted to 21st-century sensibilities. Since ordination, she has performed and celebrated many life-cycle events, including more than 100 weddings, most of which were interfaith. She is a member in good standing of the Union of Jewish Universalist Communities, the International Federation of Rabbis and the Washington Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Debbie revels in spending time with her family, and enjoys stone carving, fixing things (preferably with power tools), and indulging her sci-fi/fantasy nerdiness. She would be a professional student if there was any way to earn a living at it –in addition to her Law and Public Health degrees, in August 2016, she received a Master of Liberal Arts from Georgetown University.