Twitter can be a terrible place (for example, it has a Nazi problem and lots of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories). But it can also be delightful — full of stories about puppies, jokes about Jared Kushner and Cynthia Nixon’s bagel order, and Russian Doll tweets. But there’s one segment of Twitter that could actually make your scrolling experience meaningful: rabbis.
If you largely associate the term “rabbi” with an old, white, bearded dude, fair. But the Jewish community has come a long way in the past few decades to expand on who can be a rabbi, and we are now blessed with a plethora of female rabbis, rabbis of color, and young folks taking up the title. While not all rabbis are on Twitter, many who are have really embodied what it means to be a religious leader in modern times, using their platforms to speak out about political and social issues and share their deep Jewish knowledge in relatable ways. Bonus: Sometimes they’re really funny, too!
Here are 15 rabbis we strongly encourage you to follow on Twitter.
1. Rabbi Jill Jacobs (@RabbiJillJacobs)
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the executive director of T’ruah, an organization whose tagline is “the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.”
Her Twitter is actually what inspired us to write this list – when Sebastian Gorka called her a “non-rabbi” (can you believe?!?), Twitter started spotlighting non-cis-male rabbis to follow. So here we are! Spotlighting rabbis for you!
Actually, I AM a Conservative rabbi.
Rt if you're a Conservative or Orthodox rabbi who *also* thinks that Jews have obligations toward today's refugees and asylum seekers. https://t.co/GPnA9Ut5HH
— Rabbi Jill Jacobs (@rabbijilljacobs) June 19, 2019
Jacobs uses her platform to spotlight human rights abuses, like what is happening at the U.S. border right now.
"What the U.S. has been operating…are not death camps… new sites are concentration camps & insidious presence opens the door for worse versions, even if they never enter same tragic universe as the Shoah."
why @truahrabbis is protesting #Homestead
— Rabbi Jill Jacobs (@rabbijilljacobs) June 18, 2019
2.Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR)
Arguably the most present and popular rabbi on Twitter, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg tweets about everything. She has a feminist, activist platform. She essentially gives you the Talmudic response to the news, writing threads on Judaism and abortion, gender-bending Torah, the history of the Magen David, trans-friendly Jewish legal rulings, and so much more. Whenever she tweets “THREAD,” you know it’s going to be good. (One of her threads even inspired an Alma article.)
For anybody, but especially those taking the, "well, then, just don't have sex!!" tack to the fact that they're working to abolish reproductive rights, here's a quick thread on Judaism, birth control, and sex even when you don't mean to make babies.
— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) May 10, 2019
She also talks about being queer, raising a non-binary kid, and she is fantastic at uplifting other folks.
3. Rabbi Sandra Lawson (@RabbiSandra)
Rabbi Lawson recently made another list of ours — 14 Jews who changed queer history forever — so obviously we’re going to encourage you to follow her on Twitter. Her tweets are (obviously) very Jewy — she often shares her thoughts on the week’s Torah portion.
Are you in need of a prayer for healing? In this week's Torah Beha'alotcha we find probably the shortest prayer. Moses prays to God to restore his sister, Miriam's health. Moses cries out אֵ֕ל נָ֛א רְפָ֥א נָ֖א לָֽהּ׃ el na refa na la “My God, please, heal her!”
— Rabbi Sandra (@rabbisandra) June 19, 2019
She’s also open about her experiences as a Jewish woman of color, and the racism within the Jewish community.
The main point of my tweets on race over the last few days is that if you want to talk about race and have a racial dialogue you need to listen to people of color. Specifically in the Jewish community, Jews who benefit from white privilege need to listen to the experiences of JoC
— Rabbi Sandra (@rabbisandra) June 7, 2019
4. Rabbi Ruti Regan (@RutiRegan)
The first line of Rabbi Ruti Regan’s Twitter bio reads, “Jewish feminist working for disabled equality,” and that is a perfect summation of her Twitter feed. As a disabilities activist, Regan speaks from a personal place.
Hey, fellow Jewish people? You know how awful it is to constantly get sucked into weird antisemitic conversations about Israel.
I hate Autism Awareness Month more than that. By a wide margin.
— Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸 (@RutiRegan) April 5, 2019
She uses her platform to ensure the wider Jewish community is as inclusive as possible to all:
I think the core of Jewish disability inclusion is understanding that having a disability does not separate someone from Jewishness or Judaism.
— Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸 (@RutiRegan) May 8, 2018
Rabbi Regan also tweets often about American politics, particularly when it impacts Jewish Americans. Her tweets often ask thought-provoking questions.
5. Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder (@RabbiRuth)
Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder is the Education Director of Be’chol Lashon, an organization focused on diversity in Jewish spaces. Her Twitter is full of action items on making the Jewish community more diverse and uplifting diverse Jewish voices.
This is her pinned Tweet, which is a fantastic indication of what the rest of her feed is like:
God loves you
God has always loved you
God will always love you pic.twitter.com/nfIBKoQRY9
— Ruth Abusch-Magder (@RabbiRuth) February 28, 2019
She also tweets about being a mom, her family, and her amazing students.
12yr bat mitzvah student: The patriarchy did not make space for women
Me: What do you think the patriarchy is?
Girl: Kind of like a big club that is in charge of everything
Me: The future of Judaism is in good hands
— Ruth Abusch-Magder (@RabbiRuth) June 6, 2019
6. Rabbi Sari Laufer (@RabbiLaufer)
Rabbi Sari Laufer’s Twitter bio is a list of things that identify her: rabbi, teacher, working mom, learner, wife, spin class connoisseur, friend, shoe-holic, daughter, thinker, wannabe wanderer, aspiring epicure, and seeker. And you’ll find all these things on her feed!
Our favorite part? Rabbi Laufer is open about being a female rabbi and working mom.
While being a working parent/WOHM mom is really, really, really hard—I feel so lucky to be a rabbi where my kiddo goes to school. To be able to be present for so many moments. And today, to get to be “rabbi/mommy,” as my son says.
— Rabbi Sari Laufer (@rabbilaufer) June 7, 2019
7. Rabbi Becky Silverstein (@rabbibecky)
Rabbi Becky Silverstein doesn’t tweet as often as the above rabbis on this list, but that doesn’t mean he is not worth following! Rabbi Silverstein is a genderqueer trans rabbi (pronouns he/him/his) who’s currently the rabbi-in-residence for Keshet LGBTQ+ Ally Teen Shabbatonim (and also on the board of Keshet, an organization fighting for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life). He often speaks on queer and trans communities, both in and outside the Jewish community.
Genderqueer trans rabbi here. Doing my best to create liberatory spaces for all folks, focusing on the queer and trans community. Trying my best to be anti-racist in practice (not just in thought). Folks are welcome to reach out.
— Becky Silverstein (@rabbibecky) May 23, 2019
8. Rabbi Sara Zober (@RebbeSMZ)
Rabbi Sara Zober is a millennial rabbi! Represent!!
I try to help foster, organize, educate, and enhance Jewish people and their communities in all stages of life. https://t.co/As6l90TBJ6
— Rabbi Sara Zober (@RebbeSMZ) February 6, 2019
She’s also open about her Jewish conversion; as she tweeted earlier this year, “As a rabbi who is herself a convert, I spend a lot of my time building people up. We’re all Jewish enough, no matter what anyone says.” And that’s what her Twitter feed is all about.
I get this all the time now. "You didn't grow up Jewish, and you're a rabbi???? Wooooooooow."
Not a compliment, y'all. Also, there are lots of us. https://t.co/ROSiemYY68
— Rabbi Sara Zober (@RebbeSMZ) January 3, 2019
9. Rabbi Ruth Adar (@CoffeeShopRabbi)
#LGBTQ rights, #BlackLivesMatter, #Disability rights: They’re all Torah,” writes Rabbi Ruth Adar in her Twitter bio. She then goes on to identify herself: “Lesbian, fat, disabled. She/her. TN transplant turned passionate Californian.”
Things I am grateful for today: my knitting, my dogs, my sweetie, and for a respite from the most recent round of depression. Life is very sweet, it's a pleasure to taste it.
— Rabbi Ruth Adar (@CoffeeShopRabbi) June 17, 2019
Most of her tweets are links to her blog, also titled “Coffee Shop Rabbi,” which is “a place where people could talk and study Jewish topics without a lot of expensive overhead.” She writes about Hebrew name choices, interfaith families, book recommendations, and more.
10. Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr (@RebeccaSchorr)
Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr uses her platform to highlight other rabbis, speak about disability rights and inclusion, and, of course, talk about being Jewish.
I avoid all euphemisms. As a neuro typical mom of an autistic young adults, I don’t feel that I have the right to determine What language choices a disabled person makes. I tend to be guided by the language my son uses. And boy does he hate handicapable!
— Rebecca Einstein Schorr (@RebeccaSchorr) May 31, 2019
One of the best skills of a tweeter is sharing great threads to read — it’s too hard to see them all! — and her feed is full of interesting reads.
11. Rabbi Marci Bellows (@moosh2)
Here’s Rabbi Bellows’s pinned Tweet:
The stranger who resides with you shall be as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself. #Torah
— Rabbi Marci Bellows (@moosh2) May 30, 2017
Gives you a good sense of what her feed is like. Jewish, feminist, and activist. She tweets on reproductive rights, gun violence, and more.
The Talmud teaches us that "he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).
Think of all the universes tragically lost to #gunviolence. #EnoughIsEnough
— Rabbi Marci Bellows (@moosh2) May 8, 2019
She’s also a mom, shares insights into parenting, and commentary on pop culture! (What we really wanna know is if she added Ben Platt’s Yom Kippur tune into services?!)
12. Rabbi Rachel Timoner (@rtimoner)
Are you more of a visual person? Because Rabbi Rachel Timoner shares wonderful photos on her Twitter feed, with very Jewish captions.
Happy are those who dwell in Your house. אשרי יושבי ביתך pic.twitter.com/AdTm11Xu36
— Rabbi Rachel Timoner (@rtimoner) June 14, 2019
Blessed are You for there is nothing lacking in your world. ברוך אתה יה שלא חיסר כלום בעולמו pic.twitter.com/aUJEnS0p66
— Rabbi Rachel Timoner (@rtimoner) June 11, 2019
She also tweets about social justice issues, queer rights, American politics, and more.
13. Rabbi Amber Powers (@RabbiAmber)
Rabbi Powers is the Executive Vice President of Reconstructing Judaism, the main organization of the Reconstructionist movement. As she writes in her bio, she’s “passionate about
#Jewish community, #feminism, #leadership, #autism, #progressive causes.”
Lo dayenu- it is not enough. Until people of any faith can gather and worship without fear of violence, lo dayenu. Until #whitesupremacy is eradicated, lo dayenu. Until hate is stamped out and love reigns, lo dayenu. #PowaySynagogue #powayshooting
— Rabbi Amber Powers (@RabbiAmber) April 28, 2019
14. Rabbi Andrea Myers (@RabbiAndrea & @OliverShallum)
Rabbi Andrea Myers tweets under two accounts (definitely more active on the @OliverShallum one). You’ll find tweets about being queer, Canadian, and Jewish, alongside tweets about cats and art. Plus, a bonus point for being a rabbi who shares memes:
— Oliver Shallum (@OliverShallum) April 30, 2019
15. Rabbi Megan Doherty (@RabbiMegan)
Rabbi Doherty’s feed is a healthy mix of Judaism, pop culture, being a mom, living with Type 1 diabetes, and building community. She’s currently the director of Hillel at Oberlin college and has very cool hair.
נַחֲמ֥וּ נַחֲמ֖וּ עַמִּ֑י
Comfort, oh comfort my people
— Megan Doherty (@RabbiMegan) April 27, 2019
Said in chat today: I’m like the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except instead of Windex I prescribe learning Torah for everything.
— Megan Doherty (@RabbiMegan) June 12, 2019
Bonus fun fact: She was just a contestant on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! where she won the grand prize.
Image via Lepusinensis/Getty Images