Rabbi Rayna Grossman (they/them) is deeply moved and compelled by the aspect of service in being a rabbi. Their journey to the rabbinate lies in recognizing the power of Judaism, spirituality and amazing rabbis.
As director of field placement, Rayna oversees students’ on-the-job training, ensuring that future rabbis are prepared to serve in a variety of settings and communities. RRC’s new field education program, which begins in academic year 2023-24 and centers on immersive field placements, will make rabbinic education even more accessible, meaningful and impactful. As part of their role, Rayna teaches supervision groups and helps coordinate all aspects of student supervision. They bring to the role substantial experience in supervising rabbinical students and, thanks to a background in social work, possess a rich understanding of what supervision can look like and how powerful it can be.
Rayna spent five years as director of religions services at Lion’s Gate, a continuing-care retirement community in Voorhees, N.J., where they had previously served as rabbinic intern.
They graduated from RRC in 2017. While in rabbinical school, Rayna served a number of senior living communities, leading services, teaching adult-education classes and offering pastoral care. Previously, they earned a Master of Social Work from the University at Buffalo, N.Y., and worked for nonprofits dedicated to civil rights and fair housing.
Growing up, Rayna belonged to Temple Sinai, a Reconstructionist shul in Buffalo, which is now Congregation Shir Shalom, a dually affiliated community in Williamsville, N.Y. They attended Kadimah Academy Jewish day school, also in Buffalo.
Rayna notes that they were inspired to become a rabbi, in part, by feeling strongly that they needed more spirituality and Judaism to be present within the social work and human service work they were doing. Additionally, they were drawn to the rabbinate through experiencing a transformative healing service after a number of personal losses.
Selected Courses Taught:
Group Supervision: Intended to help students analyze and address problems and opportunities that arise in the course of their work. Empowers students to integrate their learning from coursework with on-the-job training.