Meet Our Rabbi - Rabbi Allison RH Conyer
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Rabbi Allison graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Psychology and a minor in French and Italian Literature. Steeped in humanitarian values and a growing curiosity about her cultural background, Rabbi Allison began a rich journey into her Jewish heritage. Following university, she studied in Israel, New York and Los Angeles with Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewish institutions, and was ultimately ordained as a rabbi from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1998. Rabbi Allison is committed to working within the Jewish community to engage people of all ages to connect with our Jewish heritage and live according to our Jewish values to help bring about tikkun olam by making the world a better place for all people.
Rabbi Allison Conyer served as the Associate Rabbi at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney for nearly 8 years. As the first female rabbi in New South Wales, Rabbi Allison focused much of her time teaching within her congregation and the broader Jewish community, counselling people of all ages, facilitating courses for interfaith couples, providing a Jewish voice to relevant social justice issues, participating in intra-faith dialogue with the Orthodox and Conservative Jewish communities, engaging in interfaith dialogue through her contributions to the NSW Multicultural Commission, her executive membership on the NSW Council of Christians and Jews, and the establishment of Jewish-Muslim dialogue groups, as well as well as nurturing a love of Israel. With a particular interest in keeping the young connected to their sense of Jewishness and their Jewish community, Rabbi Allison created and nurtured both adolescent leadership, young adult and young family groups, and served as the principal of the Hebrew and Religion school. She’s facilitated workshops and courses including a diverse range of topics including: Biblio/Psychodrama, Conflict Resolution and Tshuva, Eicha: A Jewish Model for Dealing with Loss and Bereavement, Confronting Death, Judaism and Positive Psychology, Ethical Decision Making, History of the Middle East Conflict, and Inspiring Jewish Women.
Rabbi Allison moved back to America accepting the position of Executive Director of Santa Barbara Hillel, a pluralist organisation working with Jewish university students, community members, and the university chancellor to further awareness and dialogue between Jews and other campus and community groups.
In 2009, Rabbi Allison returned to Sydney, working in the Jewish Studies department at Emanuel School, then to Melbourne at the King David School. With a desire to return to congregational work, Rabbi Allison was the perfect fit as the spiritual leader of Etz Chayim bringing her experience in Jewish education, community outreach, counselling, outreach to the youth, young adults, and young families.
Since 2014, Rabbi Allison has reinvigorated the Etz Chayim community with unique and interactive Shabbat and Festival services, family programming, lively and personalized afterschool program, engaging and informative adult education, Annual Women’s seder, multi-generational Purim shpeil, Jewish meditation, Youth 4 Youth leadership opportunities, and much more!
Married and mother of four, Rabbi Conyer is passionate about meaningful and relevant Jewish engagement, tikkun olam (social justice), Israel, interfaith dialogue, and respect for the plurality of Jewish perspectives and practice.