Allyson Zacharoff lives a life passionately devoted to multifaith dialogue — bringing people together across lines of religious difference so that they can all grow in understanding and respect. It was the pursuit of this path that brought her to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Allyson had learned the value of religious diversity at a young age, growing up on Long Island, N.Y., as the Jewish child of the beautiful interfaith marriage between her beloved parents, Maria and Kevin. It was during her studies at the College of William and Mary that she first realized that not everyone appreciates such difference. Her undergraduate research focused on modern and contemporary antisemitism in Europe, and this inspired her to find ways to combat such baseless hatred. Her fulfilling college experience included a semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy, and another working for the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, the United Kingdom, before she spent a summer interning at Global Spiritual Life, the interfaith office at New York University. It was there that she was first exposed to people working in interfaith dialogue professionally. Allyson had found her life path.
Since that meaningful first experience, Allyson has spent much of her time focused on multifaith learning and dialogue. After college, she studied as part of the Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies in Rome, Italy; worked for the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees in New York City; served as a Conflict Resolution Fellow at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem; and studied as an International Peacemaking Program Fellow at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace in Connecticut. Over time, she came to realize that she dearly wanted to deepen her Jewish knowledge in rabbinical school.
Allyson’s time at RRC has involved rich learning and growth. She created a brand new multifaith engagement program at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pa.; taught young people at Goucher Hillel in Towson, Md.; learned to love leading Shabbat at Kehilat HaNahar in New Hope, Pa.; and completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pa.
Along her way, Allyson has undertaken various grant funded multifaith projects. She currently serves as an official Jewish representative on several national interfaith dialogues here in the United States, regularly attends international interfaith convenings and writes about her interfaith life on her blog, “Of Christmas and Kreplach.” Allyson’s vision for the world is one in which everyone has meaningful relationships with people of all backgrounds. She works towards a time when we can all celebrate our beautiful differences, and she hopes that everyone will join her in this holy work.
Now go out and love one another.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Stephen Covey (Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Mother Teresa (Catholic)
I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
Anne Frank (Jewish)