About Me

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up in a large, boisterous, Eastern European Jewish
immigrant family. Infused with Yiddishkit, their kitchens were filled with
stories, luscious food, laughter and warmth. Vicki Hollander
The women, feisty and in control, the men, gentle and determined.

As a pre-teen, after hearing my grandfather's immigration story,
seeing the film 'Night and Fog,' and then a recruitment film for HUC-JIR,
despite my rabbi telling me that 'girls couldn't be rabbis, '
I attended the University of Cincinnati in 1970 in order to explore the rabbinate.
At U.C. I entered an extraordinary experimental learning program
majoring in Higher Innovative Education, Women's Studies, and Humanistic Psychology, and after graduating in 1974, I entered seminary.

The early days of women's move into the rabbinate were filled with stories and challenges.
Mine rooted in seminary from serving in Petoskey, MI, Yellow Springs, OH, and two glorious years in St.Catherines, Ontario.

After ordination, I served at Larchmont Temple, NY graced by Rabbi Leonard Poller, and his amazing wife, Priscilla, whose friendship I yet deeply treasure.

In 1982, my daughter came into this world, profoundly blessing my life.
My first positions in the Pacific Northwest took me to Bet Hat'fliot in Olympia, WA and Temple B'nai Or in Everett, WA. University of Washington's Hillel, allowed me to launch a Lehrhaus Judaica, where rabbis and teachers from of all streams of Jewish life offered a wide range of classes for adults in the Seattle Jewish community.

When becoming a single mother in 1986, I served a conservative congregation, Herzl Ner Tamid, on Mercer Island,
with outstanding colleagues, Cantor Brad Kurland and Joanne Glosser.

In 1988 I entered post-graduate studies in Marriage and Family Therapy, in an incredible program with exceptional faculty
at the Presbyterian Counseling Service, a certified training center accredited by the American Association of MFT. Additionally I augmented my studies with Masters level courses at Antioch University.
Knowing going back to school as a single mother and older student would be grueling, I gathered 18 wonderful Jewish women in 1988, to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, renting out the Center for Holistic Medicine, and inadvertently launching writing liturgical poetry.

While in the MFT program, I interned with the superb team at Lutheran Social Services, and weekends commuted to Vancouver, B. C, working with Congregation Or Shalom, a Jewish Renewal congregation, as well with the Jewish Community Center in Bremerton, WA, a Reform congregation.

After completing my training, I joined the interdisciplinary, dedicated team of Hospice of Seattle
as their bereavement coordinator, receiving a grant allowing me to research the top Hospice bereavement
programs in the country, and then reconstructing their bereavement program.
Additionally launching my private practice, I continued building an inclusive liberal congregation with outreach to unaffiliated Jews in Seattle, Congregation Eitz Or, and began publishing prose and liturgical poetry.

Congregation Eitz Or gathered some of the most amazing Jews I've met in my rabbinate.
Their openness to innovation and exploration, their responsiveness and desire to grow as Jews, their support and belief in me, was one of the most extraordinary times in my rabbinate, my experience of a self-aware, active, dynamic Jewish community.

In 1996 when moving to Vancouver, BC, I started a therapeutic practice, and began lecturing and teaching.
Joining the dynamic Rev. Cathy Campbell, an Anglican priest as co-director of the Centre for Faith and Healing,
opened yet another chapter.
Later I became part of Lion's Gate Palliative Care Team as their bereavement coordinator and aided building their bereavement services program. Concurrently I also was part of launching Langara College's Palliative Care training program, one of the two accredited training programs in the Province, as well as becoming one of the core staff, teaching the units on Death and Dying and Bereavement.

Vancouver's School Board's Adult Education program, wishing to experimentally offer classes in spirituality, invited me to create a class, on Women and Spirituality, which filled to maximum capacity.
In addition I lectured at Vancouver's School of Theology, UBC's School of Medicine School of Rehabilitation Sciences for OT's and PT's on Spirituality, Grief and Loss, facilitated one of the adult groups at Canuck's Children's Hospice, as well as the adult group in the experimental and amazing program, Children's Support Beams, with some very talented, creative, health care professionals.

With my daughter's graduation from University and departure to Americorps, I returned to the congregational rabbinate, joining the warm community of Congregation House of Israel, in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Additionally, I joined the team at Levi Hospital's Psychiatric ward facilitating weekly spiritual care groups, joined their wonderful Hospice team, and served as Service Coordinator to Levi Towers, a HUD building, becoming a part of their incredible staff and serving their residents for four years.

Later I served Congregation Shaareth Israel in Lubbock, Texas.

Throughout my route stood my father, a Renaissance man, with integrity, humor, and love,
my mother, whose love for the natural world, and powerful force yet impacts my days,
my daughter, whose powerful spirit, deep heart, keen sight and incredible ability, leaves me in constant amazement,
my sister whose laughter and love I cannot do without,

Currently, I'm newly arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, spinning alive another chapter of life and watching the light play on the mountains.