Photo Credit: Susan Freundlich

Diane Elliot

b. 1949

Current City, State, Country

El Sobrante, California, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago, Illinois, USA


Diane Elliot grew up in the north suburban Chicago area, graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Michigan in 1971, receiving a B.A. with an interdisciplinary major in American Studies. Active in synagogue life, she attended and served as staff at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, in the 1960’s and received early encouragement for her writing from Elie Wiesel. From 1971-1998 she pursued a career in modern dance, both as a performer and choreographer, based in New York City and later in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and trained as a Practitioner and Teaching of the somatic movement modality Body-Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, the originator of the work. In the mid-1990’s Diane began to create performance work sourced in Jewish content and her family’s history. At the same time, she discovered the Jewish Renewal Movement and began to immerse herself in the study and practice of Judaism. She began to teach embodied Jewish practice and to serve as a spiritual leader at retreats and seminars organized by the ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Elat Chayyim, and Ruach HaAretz. In 2000 she matriculated at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, graduating in 2006 with a Masters of Jewish Studies degree and rabbinic ordination. She has since served as a spiritual leader and teacher in Jewish Renewal communities in San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, and across the country. From 2011-2017 she created and directed ALEPH’s Embodying Spirit program, a leadership training in embodied Judaism. Currently based in the Bay Area, she teaches independently and serves as a founding steward and faculty for the Taproot Community and a founding member of the Embodied Jewish Wisdom Network. She has published three collections of poetry, and her poems and essays have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including New Menorah, Tel Shemesh, Ritualwell, A Poet’s Siddur, Rosh Hashanah Readings, Seeking and Soaring, Women in Judaism, and My Jewish Learning.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

For the past 30 years much of my writing, both prose and poetry, has been sourced in my Jewish practice and experience and addressed primarily to a Jewish audience.

Published Works

The Voice is Movement: A Life in Poetry, Selected Poems, Prayers, Celebrations and Laments (Hakodesh Press, 2020)
Unbounded Heart, Poems and Prayers (Hadassa Word Press, 2019)
This Is the Day, Ha-Yom Yom, poems inspired by the counting of the Omer (Hadassa Word Press, 2017)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Current Title

Rabbi, Wholly Present; Project Director, ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal; steward and faculty, Taproot Community


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Academy for Jewish Religion, California

Subject Matter