"People often ask me how I find time to write, between serving a large congregation and raising three children. I have thought a lot about this question, and I have concluded that it is not only about finding time. It is about being in love with the creative process, and being disciplined and faithful to the process. If you are concerned only with the finished product, you may never find the time. But if the process itself is what brings you to life, and fills you with energy and meaning, you will.
Another question people ask is whether I consider myself a rabbi first or a novelist. While the answer is clear in my heart, it is sometimes hard to speak it. I consider myself a novelist first, but this takes a bit of explaining. While God is often referred to as the “Author of All Life”, I like to relate to God as the Reader of All Life as well. Life is a love letter, written in logos deeper than language. I am a novelist first, but I don’t always compose with pen and ink, or keyboard and monitor. Rather, as a rabbi I help people compose with heartbeats and breath, identifying the myths and truths in their lives. A community is a library of timeless tales and adventures, of grief that poeticizes, often darkly, and of redemptions that fill the air with song.
When I officiate life cycle ceremonies, I always feel as if I am trying to weave something strong out of delicate fibers. At weddings, I try to help build a solid foundation out of very feathery dreams. At births, I try to infuse joy and light into an entirely mysterious future. At death, I take the tiny strands of an infinitely complex life and try to thread them into something sacred.
Writing and serving as a rabbi are not too different to me. In the end, it is about crafting stories, and helping people discover their grand themes and subtler metaphors. It is about offering these stories skyward to the Reader of All Life."
Zoë Klein grew up in rural Connecticut. After graduating from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Psychology, she pursued the rabbinate out of a passion for ancient texts, mythology, liturgy and poetry. She received ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998.
Rabbi Klein is the senior Rabbi at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles. She gives numerous presentations and is a keynote speaker or panel participant at various assemblies all over the country. She is a resource for reporters in regional newspapers and has appeared as a commentator on the History Channel in “Digging for the Truth.”
Rabbi Klein is a wonderful storyteller and has written multiple novels and short stories. She has also written articles for numerous publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Tikkun, and Torat Hayim. She has written chapters in a number of collections including The Women’s Torah Commentary and Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. Her poems and prayers are used in houses of prayer around the country. A book of her poetry House Plant Meadow is contracted to be published by David Godine Publishers.