Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston has been named one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis by the Jewish Daily Forward.

Selected from hundreds of entries from readers, the paper chose 28 rabbis this year for the award.

The nominating letter, written in part by congregant Ellen Blum Barish, recounts how a cassette tape of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Beth Emet prompted Rabbi London to invite members from a nearby Baptist church to co-host Shabbat dinner and discuss race relations in the Evanston community.

The evening of courageous conversation attracted several hundred people to services and a dinner which spurred interfaith, race-related book and play discussions; bibliodrama workshops, concert collaborations, and a bus trip to the civil rights sites in the South, with 38 high school students from both congregations.

Blum Barish writes, “She inspires us to find innovative ways to make a difference in our community, become a bridge between the faiths and discover our own Jewish spirituality.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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