WRJ says STOP: Jewish Text

About this Jewish Text Study

Inspired by WRJ says STOP: An Initiative Against Sexual Harassment and Assault, Cantor Alane Katzew and Rabbi Iah Pillsbury came together to develop this study and discussion guide exploring themes of power dynamics, gender-based and sexual harassment, and assault in Jewish texts. Against the backdrop of the Jewish text – and the stories that are missing from or not told in full in those texts - each section includes discussion questions that help us turn a discerning lens on our own congregations and communities: What are our norms? Are we being true to our values? How can we act to prevent harm? How can we heal together?

Thank you to Cantor Katzew and Rabbi Pillsbury for creating this guide. We encourage you to use the guide together with the WRJ says STOP tools and resources to help shape and maintain the culture of your community or congregation as a sacred space of safety and respect, where all voices are heard, and all people are valued, now and into the future.

Featured Authors

Cantor Alane Katzew (she/her)

Cantor Alane S. Katzew headshot


Ordained as a Cantor by Hebrew Union College – School of Sacred Music in 1981, Cantor Alane (Lanie) S. Katzew served congregations in Ohio, New York, Jerusalem, and Illinois for the first half of her sacred service to the Jewish people. Leading worship at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College, Lanie became the first woman to serve as a cantor in Israel.

From 2002-2012, Cantor Katzew served as Director of Music programming at the URJ as well as a member of the American Conference of Cantors board. She helped bring Jewish sacred music into the digital age by producing publications, recordings, and concerts, which included uploading digital recordings of the entire Torah and Haftarah. She thrives on developing collaborative projects that enable the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts. Her deepest commitments involve combining Jewish sacred music, community service, and social justice.

Since moving to Cincinnati, OH, in 2012, Lanie reinvented herself by studying Clinical Pastoral Education, becoming a Board Certified Chaplain, and serving as Director of Spiritual and Pastoral Care at the Jewish Senior Facility, Cedar Village. Two signature programs she directed were, 1. ‘Music and Memory’, which draws out unique musical memories with Alzheimer’s patients and 2.“Better Together,” which united Jewish teens and Jewish elders in study and led to the joint composition of Ethical Wills. During the COVID pandemic, when family and friends were not allowed to enter the building to see their loved ones, Cantor Katzew served as a lifeline between the residents and their loved ones – a consummate mitzvah that saved lives and loves.

Rabbi Iah Pillsbury (she/they)

Rabbi Iah Pillsbury headshot


Rabbi Iah Pillsbury (she/they) is honored to serve as the rabbi of Temple Beit Torah in Colorado. Rabbi Pillsbury is an artist, activist, teacher, and builder. They teach and guide groups of all ages, lead Shabbat and holiday services, officiate and prepare folks for all life-cycle ceremonies, engage in community building and organizing, and produce ketubot and other ritual texts and artifacts. Rabbi Pillsbury is deeply committed to tikkun olam, repairing the world, and building healthier communities and relationships to community. She serves on the board of Family Promise Colorado Springs and is co-chair of Colorado Springs Faith Table.

Before becoming the rabbi of Temple Beit Torah, Rabbi Pillsbury served a variety of communities all over Ohio-- from college campuses to retirement homes, reform congregations to humanists, in academic settings and communal settings. Rabbi Pillsbury graduated with honors from the University of Chicago and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

In their spare time, Rabbi Pillsbury enjoys hiking with her wife, Anna, and spending time with their amazing cat. She is overjoyed to be here in Colorado Springs, helping you make your world and our world a better, more meaningful place.