Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah studied Sociology at the London School of Economics and Rabbinics at the Leo Baeck College in London where Elli received semicha in 1989. Prior to rabbinic training, Elli engaged in feminist research, writing and editing.

Following ordination Elli worked as: a full-time congregational rabbi (Buckhurst Hill Reform Synagogue, 1989-94); Director of Programmes for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain and Deputy Director of the Sternberg Centre (1994-97); Chair of the Leo Baeck College Rabbinic In-Service Training Team (1996-2002); a Leo Baeck College tutor and lecturer, teaching ‘Classical Hebrew’ and also ‘Spirituality’ (1997-2002); and as a freelance rabbi – including a part-time congregational appointment at Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation (1998-2000).

Elli has been rabbi of Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue since December 2000, and is also Liberal Jewish Chaplain at Sussex and Brighton universities. Elli was a member of the Manor House Abrahamic Dialogue Group (1994-2010) and is currently a member of the Council of Christians and Jews Theology Group. Elli is a member of the British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights, Tzelem: the rabbinic call for social and economic justice, and is a patron of the Shalom-Salam Trust. Having chaired the Liberal Judaism Publications Group for several years, Elli also participated in the Liberal Judaism Rabbinic Conference Working Party on Same-Sex Commitment Ceremonies (2002-2006), which produced the landmark liturgy, Covenant of Love, to coincide with the Civil Partnership Act coming into force in December 2005.

A writer, Elli is author of Trouble-Making Judaism (David Paul Books, 2012) and has edited five books and contributed over four dozen articles and several poems to various journals and anthologies. Elli also teaches and lectures in many settings on a variety of topics and has delivered three conference sermons and four conference ‘key-note’ lectures. Elli’s most recent book is Women Rabbis in the Pulpit. A collection of sermons, co-edited with Barbara Borts (Kulmus Publications, 2015).

A feminist and LGBT activist since 1978, Elli’s other passions include: Classical Hebrew; biblical study; celebrating Jewish life; creating new Midrashim, prayers and rituals; campaigning for social justice; contributing to the great task of making Jewish life more inclusive; and helping to build bridges between different faith and ethnic communities.