An innovative young rabbi is the first recipient of the Inspired Leadership Award.
The award, given by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, comes with a $100,000 prize.
Rabbi Sharon Brous, 34, founded the alternative synagogue/community IKAR to reach mainly young, disaffected Jews by linking Torah study to progressive social action. Brous founded IKAR as part of the “emerging” Judaism movement with a handful of friends, who have grown to 370 individual and family members.
“Sharon is essentially the chief scientist in this fascinating laboratory that is Los Angeles,” said David Myers, the director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. “It is a very rare thing for a rabbi to be able to move you both intellectually and spiritually. It’s usually neither, but on a good day it is one or the other. But Sharon belongs to that very small subset of people who can do both.”
Brous has been on the Forward list of America’s 50 most influential Jews three years in a row and last
spring was cited by Newsweek as ninth among the 25 most influential American pulpit rabbis. The New Jersey native is a graduate of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She and her husband are the parents of two daughters.