Rachel Isaacs of Colby College Wins the Pomegranate Prize

Rachel Isaacs, the inaugural holder of the Dorothy “Bibby” Levine Alfond Chair in Jewish Studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, has been awarded the 2020 Pomegranate Prize from the Covenant Foundation. Each year the prize recognizes emerging Jewish educators from across the country whose work the foundation finds influential through bold, inclusive, and creative action.

Now in its 10th year, the Pomegranate Prize — so named for the fruit’s 613 seeds, which correspond to the 613 commandments in the Torah — recognizes Jewish educators who have been in the field for up to 10 years. Recipients are nurtured by the Covenant Foundation through connections with exceptional educators and prominent thought leaders representing a broad swath of Jewish life.

“Rachel has created a ‘wraparound’ rabbinate, one that tends to both the spiritual and material needs of not just the congregation she serves, but of Jewish people across the state,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, executive director of the Covenant Foundation, which brings together the most influential people in the global Jewish community. “Her work has empowered individuals to revitalize their own Jewish learning and engagement and to take what they learn back to their communities. This is the kind of bold action that makes Rachel a truly outstanding rising leader in the field.”

Rabbi Isaacs also serves as the director of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life in Waterville, Maine. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

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