Nora Rebecca Maneval Woods grew up in Yardley, Pa.. She attended Earlham College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in religion, focusing on religious philosophy. While in college she met Rabbi Rachel Gartner, whose warmth and brilliance inspired her to pursue the rabbinate. After college Nora managed a farm in Newtown, Pa., and then moved to Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Connecticut, where she was an Adamah Fellow and a Teva Educator.
While in rabbinical school, Nora has been honored to work with prospective rabbinical students as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College admissions intern, with survivors of human trafficking as a T’ruah Fellow, with seniors as a chaplain intern at Abramson Center for Jewish Life and Hebrew Senior Life, and with college students at Georgetown University and Bryn Mawr College. She is overjoyed to continue serving as the interfaith chaplain of Bryn Mawr College.
Nora is grateful to her father, who taught her how to listen; to her mother, who taught her how to care for people; to her brother Greg and sister-in-law Sarah, who taught her the importance of intellectual integrity and honesty, and her brother Zach, who taught her about generosity. She would like to thank her family and friends who have supported her through this experience with their love, patience, time and flexibility. Nora is so appreciative of her teachers, classmates and her hevruta, Bec, for all the playfulness, learning and compassion.
Nora is grateful to her partner, Michelle, who has been a rock for her throughout this experience, helping to build a life infused with faith, joy and love.
אַחַת שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת־יְהוָה אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית־יְהוָה כָּל־יְמֵי חַיַּי לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם־יְהוָה וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ׃
One thing I ask of the LORD, only that do I seek
To live in the house of the LORD, all the days of my life
To gaze upon the beauty of the LORD, to frequent G-d’s temple.
— Psalms 27:4
“ … the room overflowed overflowed with that sort of blessing. The combination of loss and abundance. The abundance that has no guilt. The loss that has no fix. The simple tiredness that is not weary. The hope not built on blindness.”
— Aimee Bender, Willful Creatures
וַתִּקְרָא שֵׁם־יְהוָה הַדֹּבֵר אֵלֶיהָ אַתָּה אֵל רֳאִי כִּי אָמְרָה הֲגַם הֲלֹם רָאִיתִי אַחֲרֵי רֹאִי׃
And she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, G-d who Sees me — for she said, “I have seen you after you have seen me.”
— Genesis 16:13