Abby Chava Stein

Memoirist & Educator
Trans-activist
Travels from: New York, NY

“Our audience was so moved, and we got so much positive feedback about the program. It was an absolute honor having you here!” – JCC San Francisco

Abby Stein is a Jewish educator, author, speaker, and activist. She was born and raised in a Hasidic family of rabbinic descent, and is a direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Abby attended Yeshiva, completing a rabbinical degree in 2011. In 2012, she left the Hasidic world to explore a self-determined life. In 2015 Abby came out as a woman of trans experience. Since coming out, she has been working to raise support and awareness for trans rights and those leaving Ultra-Orthodoxy.

Her story has been covered in the New York TimesNew York PostWall Street Journal, New York MagazineJewish Daily ForwardDaily MailNBC, Vogue, InStyle, and more, as well as live appearances on CNN, Fox News, HuffPost Live, ShowTime, NowThis, PopSugar and internationally. In 2016, Abby was named by The Jewish Week as one of the “36 Under 36” young Jews who are inspiring change in the world. In 2018 she was awarded the Pride Award by the Brooklyn Borough President. She studied gender studies and political science at Columbia University in New York City.

Her memoir Becoming EveMy Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman was published by Seal Press in November 2019. Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity-a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life.  This powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?

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Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman

Seal Press |
Memoir

The powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman.

Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, speaking only Yiddish and Hebrew and shunning modern life. Stein was born as the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews.

But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity-a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life.

Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?

Becoming You

Activist Abby Stein discusses her journey from ultra-orthodox rabbi to woman of trans experience. Stein’s Hasidic community in Williamsburg believed that, as a 10th generation of the Baal Shem Tov, she was destined to be a rabbinic leader. They also believed she was a boy. But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl, and eventually orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity—a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life. Less than five years later, she is a sought-after speaker and prominent activist for gender equality. She talks about becoming the person you’re meant to be, and how to help others along the way.

(Trans)Gender in Judaism/Kabbalah

For generations most traditional Jews saw gender within Jewish culture as black and white, male and female, with no place for fluidity. Until today, Ultra Orthodox communities ignore the existence of gender diversity within Jewish tradition. However Judaism is rich and full with gender diversity.
This session will explore different approaches within primary Jewish texts, from the creation story, the several genders of the Talmud, to transgender theory within Kabbalah, with real life examples.

My Story in the Media - How Does it Portray Me and My Community?

In the past few years the general media has been fascinated by the stories of transgender people, from serious newspapers and Hollywood studios, to tabloids and gossip sites. At the same time, the interest in “OTD” (“Off the Derech,” or formerly Orthodox) people — people leaving isolated Jewish communities has risen as well. How does it feel to have both of these stories at once? Since Abby Stein came out in 2015, she has had media appearances in the news and media such as New York Times, NY Post, and CNN, FoxNews and ShowTime.

Hasidic Storytelling - Outside the Box

Hasidic folktales are full of imagination and intrigue. However they also give an inside view at the Hasidic life in Eastern Europe, which is full of attributes that Modern Hasidim would consider taboo at best. This session will explore these tales from the 1760’s to WWII.

Becoming Eve: Abby Stein’s Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman

Transgender Woman Chronicles Journey From Rabbi To Her True Self | TODAY

Felicia Berliner on Shmutz with Abby Stein with The Center for Fiction

Abby Chava Stein’s Blog

Other Writing and Articles

Trans Resources

Rabbi Abby – Rabbinical sermons, services and chanting.

Honors, Awards & Recognition

The Jewish Week: “36 Under 36”
Trans Activist at Columbia University, Romemu, and B’nai Jeshurun NYC
Pride Award by the Brooklyn Borough President

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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