Rabbinical and Cantorial Class of 2023/5783 Scholarship

Your gift will support the Class of 2023 Lea Andersen Memorial Scholarship Fund which will be awarded to a student or students entering Hebrew College’s ordination programs in the fall of 2023.


Born and raised in Central Florida, Lea discovered her love for Torah and began to connect with her Jewish neshamah when she was a student at New College of Florida in Sarasota. Lea’s passion for Jewish life brought her to Asheville, NC where she participated in the Tzedek Fellowship and worked for the JCC as well as to Jerusalem where she studied Hebrew and Arabic and volunteered in peace-building efforts between Israelis and Palestinians through Achvat Amim: Solidarity of Nations. Simultaneously, Lea felt called to live out her personal gender identity as a transgender woman and to serve the Jewish people as a teacher, organizer, and spiritual guide. She began her rabbinical studies at HUC in Jerusalem before transferring to Hebrew College where she passionately devoted herself to studying halakha and aggadah, kabballah, and hassidut, and everything on which she could get her hands. She became a leader in several minyanim, a mikvah guide at Mayyim Hayyim, and an inspiration to many through her devotion to living her life with authenticity and integrity. She authored her own Midrashim which elevated trans experiences of biblical characters and the voices of biblical women. Lea encouraged others to join her in sanctifying their gender transitions through berakhot, tefillah, and mikvah. Lea’s unique presence is already dearly missed by so many of us who were blessed to know and love her. Her classmates hope that this fund will serve as a modest way to honor her life and legacy.