Emily Dana brings focus on interfaith outreach, disability rights to term as UHC student rabbi

By Student Rabbi Emily Dana

Shalom, all!

My name is Emily Dana, and I am overjoyed to be joining your community for the coming year as United Hebrew Congregation’s rabbinic intern.

What do you need to know about me? I was born in Boston and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where I attended Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston.

Growing up, I went to Camp OSRUI in Oconomowoc, Wis., where I also served on staff for a number of years.

In high school, I was an active member of NFTY Chicago Area Region.

I attended Brandeis University, where I studied classics and Judaic studies while running the Reform minyan (which should have been considered a major in itself). I also received a minor in religious studies.

During my junior year, I studied abroad at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for a semester on The Nachshon Project, a program specifically designed to train future Jewish professionals.

The world needs better communication

College is where I discovered my passion for interfaith work, as I helped run meditation groups, discussions on various religious practices, celebrations and memorials with active members of the Christian and Muslim communities.

These experiences opened my eyes to the need for more communication between people from different backgrounds in our world.

Social justice, in terms of disability, race and other areas, was a value instilled in me from a very young age.

Additionally, at the end of my junior year, I led a disability rights movement at Brandeis University. I still spend much of my time working to make the Jewish and higher education communities more accessible.

Social justice, in terms of disability, race and other areas, was a value instilled in me from a very young age. I just put my own spin on it! My goal is to pursue some form of chaplaincy.

The bimah felt like home

Cantor Arik Luck first advised me to attend Hebrew Union College when I stood on the bimah at age 13, as he taught me how to lead services.

Then again, I felt the call at 18 when I was essentially doing the work of a rabbi as a college student, and as my campers cried out for me when they were sick or overwhelmed.

I feel the call every time I discuss a Jewish text.

I feel the call every time I discuss a Jewish text.

The last year has been unusual, to say the least (I had to return from Israel early, due to the pandemic), but I am so excited to continue on this path and to learn from each of you!

It may be a little more difficult for me to meet you individually right now, but please feel free to reach out by email, and we can find a time to talk, if only virtually.

Student Rabbi Emily Dana will serve UHC Terre Haute during the 2020-21 academic year.

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