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About Us

About Us

We are a "synagogue in your heart" dedicated to personal spiritual growth through the arts, meditation, yoga, worship and study. You can find us online, with in-person events in Northeast Ohio, Southwest Florida and elsewhere.

What is the name 'Ivrim'?

ּּּּּּPractitioners networked by a commitment to spiritual seeking and growth are IVRIM, translated as Hebrews. IVRIM comes from the verb “la’avor” to pass through or cross over. It is the willingness to be surprised.

A small group of Israelites go to scout out the Land of Israel for the first time. They are crossing through. They are diving out of their comfort zone. They are seeking to learn something new. They are aiming to get a feel for where they are going and have never been. It is an exploration into the unknown.


The first time the Torah uses the name IVRIM for the Jewish people, it comes out of the mouth of Joseph when he is imprisoned. While he is behind bars, he calls the people he belongs to “Ivrim” - holy wanderers. And he is most definitely one himself - perhaps the quintessential one - coming into Egypt as a slave but ultimately becoming second to Pharaoh himself. Time and again he moved past and beyond expectations - following a dream and believing in God’s path for him.


Ivrim are our ancestors who found the One God as HaMakom - as the place - as home. Ivrim - are the people who abhor stagnancy. Ivrim are the ones who find growth in stillness.


Our Rabbi and Founding Director

Elyssa Joy Austerklein

Rabbi Elyssa peeks through the cracks of the lattice. She is shifting the oft asked question from "How are you?" to "How is your spiritual life today?" A spiritual person from birth, she shares her love of Divine Spirit (God) and Holy Teaching (Torah) by searching for and making meaning. As an artist, yogi, musician, mother and wife, she forms outlets for expressing joy and sorrow, questioning and certainty. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, BU School of Theology, and was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Rabbi Elyssa has published articles, ritual, midrash and poetry in The Forward, eJewish Philanthropy, the Journal Kerem, and the “Ask the Rabbis” section in Moment Magazine, among other publications. She is a trained mikveh guide, has led Hallel with Women of the Wall in Jerusalem, and was a "rabbi on the road" for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Rabbi Elyssa is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and was named one of America’s most inspiring rabbis by The Forward. She has held pulpits in Conservative and Reform congregations in Florida, Ohio, Maryland and Alaska. She walks outside in nature in sunshine, snow and rain.


Contact Us

Ivrim Jews Without Borders

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