Bridge Builder, Nomadically Hospitable, Composer and Rapping Rabbi.
Isaiah Joseph Rothstein is a rabbi, songwriter and spiritual enthusiast, originally from the ultra-orthodox community of Monsey, NY. As a Jew of Color, Isaiah shares ancestry with people of different faiths, colors and backgrounds. His ancestors fought in the American Revolutionary War, were Eastern-European Jews, and slaves in America. From Haredi to Universalists, and from Chabad niggunim (songs) to Motown, Rothstein grew up dancing between worlds. Passing for white, while honoring his Jewish and African roots, Isaiah learned early on that being Black-Jewish and American were different, and saw it as his mission to help others unlock their unique legacy and voice. Isaiah attended Binghamton University (‘10), followed by Yeshiva University for his masters of social work (‘13) and rabbinic ordination (‘15). During this time, Isaiah began to expand his sense of Jewish peoplehood and his role as a rabbi, traveling around the world, spreading stories of peace, hope, and song. In 2013, Isaiah became a founding member of the Beis Community in Washington Heights, a place where “All. Are Welcome. Always.” In later years, Isaiah has continued to develop his voice as a leader, authoring dozens of articles around diversity, inclusion and social change. Currently serving as the Rabbi-in-Residence at Hazon and Be’chol Lashon--organizations that have the vision for a more healthy and sustainable community for everyone--Isaiah is also the founder of the Union Street Sanctuary, a open space to explore our unique voice, ancestral heritage and the diversified wisdom of the world around us. With his free time, performs with his band Zayah, and is in process of writing a musical about the Story of Esther.