Rabbi Ziona Zelazo – usually referred to as Rabbi Ziona, is a member of the New Jersey Board of Rabbis, and was ordained at The Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR) in New York, a pluralistic seminary that trains rabbis and cantors. She is a trans-denominational rabbi who brings a wide range of experiences, skills and perspectives to her rabbinate and counseling practice. She is committed to those she serves and handles each individual's life events with sensitivity and wisdom.
Rabbi Ziona is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and was born and raised in Haifa, Israel. She served in The Israeli Defense Force as an Electronic Intelligence Sergeant during the War of Attrition, and studied Biblical archaeology and ancient languages in Tel Aviv University under Professors David Ussishkin, Nadav Na’aman and Anson Rainy (just to name a few).
About Rabbi Ziona
Rabbi Ziona completed her academic education in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and taught as an adjunct professor of cultural anthropology at Montclair State University, New Jersey. Her research focuses on the acculturation process of five Ethiopian families who immigrated to Israel with Operation Moses. As an anthropologist, she loves to travel and saw many corners of the big world. She participated in expeditions to Egypt, Jordan, Eastern Turkey, Kenya and Tanzania. She also traveled to the Far East -- Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Korea.
Rabbi Ziona officiates in various life cycle rituals, conducting services, providing Jewish education to adults, ministering pastoral care in home and hospital setting to all age groups. Known for her compassionate mentoring and interactive teaching style, Rabbi Ziona is available to be the guest rabbi for teaching in different geographical areas and also for private or group counseling sessions.
Rabbi Ziona is an associate chaplain at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ. She did her Clinical Pastoral Education at Valley Hospital and Overlook Medical Center in New Jersey. Her training also includes programs in spiritual guidance, bereavement support and pre-marital couples counseling. Rabbi Ziona is also a certified Disaster Chaplain in Bergen County and A certified Disaster Spiritual Care Provider for the American Red Cross. At the American Red Cross she is a supervisor for the Northeastern NJ spiritual care providers. She has been deployed a disaster areas, such as KY after the tornados in Dec. 2021.
Rabbi Ziona has been teaching meditations in many settings, interfaith and Jewish. She also leads healing services and conducts alternative/meditative Shabbat morning services; meditations, liturgical and poetic teaching, spiritual centering with song, chant and musical instruments. Her goal is to meet people where they are and lead them into hope, healing, and meaning.
Rabbi Ziona believes in Religious Pluralism. She interacts with clergy of all faiths. She is a strong advocate for the Women of the Wall in Israel and participated in a number of challenging prayers at the Kotel.
For an interview for the Jewish Standard about the war in Israel (Summer 2014) read here.
Rabbi Ziona is married to Ronald Zelazo, and they are proud parents of 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren.