Abby Stein: TRANSitions

ISABEL EPSTEIN / COURTESY

A story about change

Abby Stein, a Jewish educator and activist, will be speaking about her struggles as a transgender woman in the Hasidic community.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Stein grew up in a community of Hasidic Judaism, a sub-group within ultra-Orthodox Judaism. It is known for being religiously conservative and secluded from the outside world. Growing up, Stein attended Yeshiva (rabbinical school) and then went on to become a rabbi — all by the age of 20. She left the Hasidic community the following year and then came out as a transgender woman a few years later.

Daniella Amir, the Israel Fellow at Hillel in Davis, is part of the planning for this event.

“Having a speaker like Abby who has such an inspiring and unique story would help show the many different aspects Judaism can have,” Amir said.

As a transgender woman in a highly conservative community, Stein has been working to raise support and awareness for people in situations similar to her own. Specifically, she aims to improve transgender rights and help those leaving ultra-orthodoxy.

She is currently studying gender studies and political science at Columbia University, and in 2016 Abby was named one of the “36 Under 36” emerging Jewish leaders by The Jewish Week.

Charline Delkhah, a fourth-year managerial economics major, has been looking forward to hearing Stein speak.

“This event is important because it brings to light an issue that is prevalent in society and culture today,” Delkhah said. “She discusses issues that her community has failed to address. Abby Stein is a role model for people in any religion who face the struggle of coming out to their family, especially to those who are ultra-conservative. She has decided to be true to who she is, something that many are afraid to do. I am honored have her come and speak about her life and the issues the transgender community faces.”

Dana Benavi, a third-year communication major and the vice president of the Aggies for Israel club, expressed the significance of Stein’s visit not just to the Davis campus, but to the Jewish community.

“I’m so happy so see the Jewish community be open and embrace Abby Stein,” Benavi said.

The event will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Hillel at 328 A Street. A Q&A period will follow Stein’s speech.

 

Written by: CaraJoy Kleinrock — arts@theaggie.org