World-wise but young at heart, Rabbi Rain’s commitment to equality, social justice, and authentic spirituality make her an excellent choice for officiating life-cycle ceremonies, providing a spiritual grounding for activists, or bringing a well-rounded Jewish perspective to interfaith and academic circles.
Rabbi Rain Zohav was born in Chicago and grew up in Kansas and then southern California. After high school she made aliyah to Israel, where she lived and worked on Kibutz Shomrat. Back in the states ten years later, she settled in Charlottesville, Virginia, raising two children and working at both the synagogue and the Peace Center. After moving to the Washington D.C. area to raise her third child, she continued to work in Jewish education in various settings, including serving as education director at both traditional and independent congregations, working with the DC Board of Jewish Education to plan teacher trainings and write curricula, and running various dialogue and support groups for Black and Jewish women.
As her daughter entered high school, she realized the time was ripe to realize her life-long dream of becoming a rabbi, and applied to the ordination program at the Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Along the way she acquired a Masters degree, earning awards in both Bible Studies and Jewish studies.
Rabbi Rain is currently the Rabbi and Spiritual Adviser at the Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington. She and Rabbi Lori Shaller are the creators and co-directors of Aleph’s Educating for Spirituality program. Rabbi Rain has taught courses including “Social Action Education as Spiritual Practice” and “How to Reach the Soul of your Students: Renewing the Transmission of Spirituality”.
Rabbi Rain will be a facilitator for Montgomery County’s upcoming Faith Community Working Group series of workshops on “Interracial/Interfaith dialogue on Racism: Seeing the Divine in Each Other” and has also helped launch a similar effort in Prince George’s county.
Rabbi Rain currently serves on the Rabbinic Council for Jewish Voices for Peace. She is also chair of the Social Action committee for Aleph’s Jewish Renewal retreat, Kallah.
Check out Rabbi Rain’s blog post about her trip to Standing Rock Reservation to participate in a clergy action, at Tikkun Magazine.
Rabbi Rain was ordained by the Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Studies with Highest honors from Gratz College, where she received the Graduate prize in Bible studies 2012, and the Bible studies and Jewish studies Graduate prizes in 2013. Her master’s thesis was a reinterpretation of the Book of Job through an activist lens.
Rabbi Rain earned her B.A. in Philosophy and Religion, Summa Cum Laude from Mary Baldwin College, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Adult Degree Student Award. Her thesis centered around Jewish feminist literature.
In addition to her own scholarly pursuits, Rabbi Rain has many years of experience as a Jewish educator, as teacher, education director, and curriculum writer. She now teaches other Jewish educators through her program “Educating for Spirituality” at ALEPH. For information about EfS, professional development, or curricula, please contact Rabbi Rain here.
Rain was the perfect officiant for us. She was a guide and a partner, and performed our wedding ceremony in a loving and deeply compassionate way. With Rain we always felt honored, heard and supported.
Rain clearly saw the most important part of being married–that we love each other–and we deeply appreciated her spirit of acceptance and love.
In the 3 years that she has been mentoring me I have realized over and over again what my spirit recognized the first moment I encountered her. In our first session I remarked on the fact that one of my spiritual complaints was the feeling that I was spiritually dry and brittle and that her name was appropriately, Rain. She has definitely been the rain to my drought!!! I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone seeking depth and fullness in their spiritual life.
Rain had a very cheerful and friendly way of working with us in planning the ceremony. She expertly handled the rehearsal and was very open to our inter-faith marriage. I had a Lutheran background, and she was inclusive and welcoming toward my family and friends.
Many spiritual leaders who are committed to tikkun olam come with a burning passion to do the healing with all their energy, at once. But that burning can easily lead to burn-out. Rabbi Rain Zohav comes, rather, with a strong and perseverant simmer and a good-humored openness to a range of opinions and commitments -- yet a deep commitment to keep working to heal a troubled, wounded world.
Rabbi Rain has years of experience in both interfaith dialogue and activism for peace and justice, and is always looking for more opportunities to offer a progressive Jewish perspective in activist circles.
She has coordinated an interfaith freedom seder for the earth, led interfaith services as part of chaplain duties, and helped coordinate a teen service and learning day while working with the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society in DC.
Rabbi Rain firmly supports the Interfaith Family Project and their mission to:
“[D]evelop our children, ourselves, and our community through opportunities for education about Christianity and Judaism, holiday celebrations, fellowship, spiritual gatherings, community service, and exploration of interfaith identity in an environment that encourages questions and respects different answers.”