Rabbi Mychal Copeland speaks and writes about the inclusion of LGBTQI people and interfaith families in religious life. She is the co-editor of Struggling in Good Faith: LGBTQI Inclusion from 13 American Religious Perspectives [Skylight Paths Publishing, 2015]. Rabbi Copeland is the incoming rabbi at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, leaving her position as Director of InterfaithFamily Bay Area where she helped couples navigate a diversity of religious and cultural backgrounds. She served for thirteen years as a university Rabbi, first at UCLA and later at Hillel at Stanford University. She earned a Masters in Theological Studies and Secondary Teaching Credential from Harvard Divinity School in 1995, and a rabbinical degree from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2000. She is the founder of a national Rosh Hodesh (new moon) project for teens, It’s a Girl Thing, that celebrates the monthly lunar cycle and strengthens teen girls’ self-esteem and spirituality with over 100 groups around the country. In 2005 she was recognized as being an Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel’s International Center, the highest individual honor for Hillel professionals. She served as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City, the world’s largest Jewish LGBTQ community and has carried that work into her career with college students. Mychal is a certified yoga instructor and fuses Jewish spirituality with movement in her yoga teaching.
Her articles include “The Next Frontier for LGBTQI Inclusion: Engaging Religion,” in the Huffington Post, “Like King and Heschel” in Sh’ma Journal of Jewish Ideas, and “Beyond Tolerance: Helping Religions ‘Come Out,’ in Religion Dispatches. Her chapter in the book, Expanding the Circle: Creating an Inclusive Environment in Higher Education for LGBTQ Students and Studies is entitled, “Intersections: A Guide to Working with LGBTQI University Students of Minority Religions or Culture” [Suny Press, 2104]
Mychal is passionate about opening the doors of religion wider and leading people towards a profound spiritual and religious life that embraces all of their disparate identities.