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Sharon Brous is a Los Angeles-based American rabbi,[1] who currently serves as the senior rabbi of IKAR (Hebrew for “essence”), a Jewish congregation in Los Angeles. She was one of the founders of IKAR in 2004, along with Melissa Balaban, who currently serves as IKAR's executive director, and others.[2][3] Every year since its founding, IKAR has been named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits by the Slingshot Fund Guide, a resource guide for Jewish innovation.

Sharon Brous
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materColumbia University
Spouse(s)David Light


In 2013, The Daily Beast listed Brous as #1 on its list of America's most influential rabbis; she ranked #5 on the same list in 2012.[4] The publication wrote that "Ikar, the come-as-you-are spiritual community that Brous, 39, founded nearly a decade ago, has become a magnet for L.A.’s young, unaffiliated Jews" in a time when many synagogues face "disaffected, declining membership."[4]

In 2006, the Forward cited her as among the 50 most influential American Jews.[5] In 2013 she blessed President Obama and Vice President Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Foundation's Wexner Heritage; and REBOOT, and is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary. She serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and rabbinic advisory council to American Jewish World Service.

Brous was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001 and received a master's degree in human rights from Columbia University, where she also received her bachelor's degree in 1995. Before moving to Los Angeles, she served as a Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City.

In January 2016, Brous and colleagues from six other Jewish communities from across the United States officially announced the launch of the Jewish Emergent Network, a collaboration between IKAR and Kavana in Seattle, The Kitchen in San Francisco, Mishkan in Chicago, Sixth & I in Washington, DC, and Lab/Shul and Romemu in New York City. All seven communities have individually received recognition for the impact of their work in the Jewish community on both a local and national scale.

In 2018 Brous, among others, was on the cover of Time; the cover was based on a 1943 Norman Rockwell painting titled “Freedom of Worship.”[6]

Brous has contributed to the books The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt,[7] A dream of Zion: American Jews reflect on why Israel matters to them,[8] and The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions.[9]


  1. ^ "First on America's top 50 rabbis list: A woman". Ynet. March 25, 2013. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  2. ^ "Our Story". IKAR. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  3. ^ "Melissa Balaban". IKAR. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  4. ^ a b America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2013 (PHOTOS), Daily Beast (March 21, 2013).
  5. ^ "Forward 50, 2006". Forward. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  6. ^ JTA (2018-11-20). "LA Rabbi Sharon Brous featured on Time Magazine cover based on Norman Rockwell painting | Jta". Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  7. ^ Ruth Andrew Ellenson, ed. (2005). The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt. Penguin.
  8. ^ Jeffrey K. Salkin, ed. (2007). A dream of Zion: American Jews. Jewish Lights Publishing.
  9. ^ Sharon Brous and Jill Hammer. “Proclaiming Liberty throughout the Land.” In The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Edited by Elyse Goldstein, pages 238–45. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-58023-076-8.

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