Born and raised in Los Angeles, California with a mother who is an atheist and a father who is agnostic, Rabbi Allison RH Conyer graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Psychology and a minor in French and Italian Literature. Steeped in humanitarian values and a growing curiosity about her cultural background, Rabbi Conyer began a rich journey into her Jewish heritage. Following university, she studied in Israel, New York and Los Angeles with Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewish institutions, and was ultimately ordained as a rabbi from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1998. Rabbi Conyer is committed to working within the Jewish community to engage people of all ages to connect with our Jewish heritage and live according to our Jewish values to help bring about tikkun olam by making the world a better place for all people.
Rabbi Allison Conyer served as the Associate Rabbi at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney for nearly 8 years. As the first female rabbi in New South Wales, Rabbi Conyer focused much of her time teaching within her congregation and the broader Jewish community, counselling people of all ages, providing a Jewish voice to relevant social justice issues, engaging in interfaith dialogue through the Executive Council of Christians and Jews and developing a Muslim-Jewish dialogue group, as well as nurturing a love of Israel. She also served as the principal of the Hebrew and Religion school, worked with interfaith couples, created and nurtured both young adult and young family groups with a particular interest in keeping the young connected to their sense of Jewishness and their Jewish community.
Rabbi Conyer moved back to America to accept the position of the Edgar M. Bronfman Executive Director of Santa Barbara Hillel, a pluralist organisation working with Jewish university students and community members from all backgrounds. In Santa Barbara, California, Rabbi Conyer continued her work supervising a programming staff and students in their cultural and religious celebrations, as well as social action and Jewish educational programs. She worked closely with the Chancellor of the University, as well as many interfaith organisations, furthering awareness and dialogue between Jews and other campus and community groups. She was also instrumental in receiving many grants and significant community support to continue the work of engaging young Jews in Jewish life and learning.
In 2009, Rabbi Conyer returned to Sydney with her growing family to work in the Jewish Studies department at Emanuel School. After nearly five years at the school, Rabbi Conyer was ready to move back to congregational work. With her experience in Jewish education, community outreach, counselling, fundraising, outreach to the youth, young adults and young families, Rabbi Conyer looks forward to being a spiritual leader of the Etz Chayim Progressive Synagogue.
Her husband, Dr. Bryan Conyer is the Director of Jewish Life at the King David School, bringing with him a plethora of knowledge and experience to the Melbourne Jewish community. Their four children are attending King David School and have been actively involved in Netzer. She is passionate about scuba diving, acting, bushwalking and camping, as well as social justice, Israel, interfaith dialogue and Jewish growth.