Rabbi Sandy Sasso

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia in May, 1974. She is Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis. Rabbi Sasso received her Doctor of Ministry from Christian Theological Seminary in 1996. She has Honorary Doctorates from DePauw University, Butler University, Christian Theological Seminary and Franklin College. She will be receiving a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in June 2013. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College awarded her a Doctor of Divinity after twenty-five years in the Rabbinate. Rabbi Sasso is active in the arts, civic and interfaith communities and has written and lectured on women and spirituality and the discovery of the religious imagination in children. She is the author of nationally acclaimed children’s books and is the 2004 recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature, the 2005 Sugarman Family Award for Jewish Children’s Literature. There are over 400,000 copies of her books in print. She is co-editor of Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality; Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions; editor of Urban Tapestry, Indianapolis Stories and the author of a book for adults, God’s Echo: Exploring Scripture with Midrash. Her latest children’s book is The Shema in the Mezuzah, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book. Rabbi Sasso has served on numerous boards in the civic and Jewish communities. She is Past Chair of the Spirit and Place Advisory Board, an annual festival in Indiana celebrating the Arts, Religion and Humanities. She has been President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Indianapolis Board of Rabbis and Gleaners Food Bank. Rabbi Sasso presently serves on the Julian Center Board, the Board of Advisors of Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis, the Board of Advisors of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University and the Lake Family Institute. She lectures at Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University. She writes a monthly column for the Indianapolis Star. Rabbi Sasso has been honored as one of the “Influential Women in Indiana” by the Indianapolis Business Journal, received the “Sagamore of the Wabash”, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of the State of Indiana, the Spirit of the Prairie award from Conner Prairie and the Touchstone Award from Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis. She and her husband, Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso, are the first practicing rabbinic couple in world Jewish history, serving together at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck since 1977. The Sassos have two children and three grandchildren.