Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Teacher, rabbi, writer, chaplain, activist, deep thinker


Katy Z. Allen spent her childhood exploring the woods, fields and streams of her southwestern Wisconsin home and has been connected to the outdoors ever since. She attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Massachusetts at Boston and began her career as a high school science teacher. 

After converting to Judaism, Katy started teaching Hebrew school and kept on studying, eventually getting her Masters in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Newton, MA. She received her rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, in 20005 and her board certification as a chaplain from Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains in 2010.

Katy began her rabbinic work as a chaplain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, and briefly served Temple Tifereth Israel in Winthrop, MA, before starting her outdoor congregation, Ma’yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which now has a thriving outdoor children’s Jewish learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. 

Allen is a co-founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA and has considered much of her climate work to be eco-chaplaincy. She has also served as a hospice chaplain and has provided spirituality and nature programming at Open Spirit Center in Framingham, MA. 

In addition to her recent book, A Tree of Life: A Story in Word,  Image, and Text, Allen is the co-author of several children’s science books and the editor of Falling Light and Waters Turning: Adventures in Being Human in Word and Image, her mother’s memoir, and Earth Etudes for Elul: Spiritual Wisdom for the Season, from Strong Voices Publishing. She blogs at www.mayantikvah.blogspot.com.