When she was in college her mother died of breast cancer, and Ruttenberg reconsidered religion, practiced Jewish mourning rituals, which she said allowed her to "make friends with Judaism, to be open to it"; in 2008 she published a memoir of her spiritual awakening titled Surprised by God: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press). This memoir was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.
In 2016, she published Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting with Flatiron Books, which was named a National Jewish Book Award finalist and a PJ Library Parents' Choice selection.
Ruttenberg is the editor of the 2001 anthology Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism and the 2009 anthology The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism. She is also a contributing editor to Lilith and Women in Judaism. She and Rabbi Elliot Dorff are co-editors of three books for the Jewish Publication Society’s Jewish Choices/Jewish Voices series: "Sex and Intimacy", "War and National Security", and "Social Justice". She served as the Senior Jewish Educator at Tufts University Hillel, and subsequently Campus Rabbi at Northwestern Hillel and Director of Education for the campus dialogue program Ask Big Questions. She served as Rabbi in Residence for Avodah.
In regards to abortion laws, Danya Ruttenberg stand on the side to preserve rights to abortion (Pro-Abortion). Danya Ruttenberg stated:
"I’m a rabbi and a scholar in residence at the National Council of Jewish Women, which fights to preserve the right to abortion and expand access to the procedure. Our organization’s Rabbis for Repro network includes more than 1,800 Jewish clergy of every denomination committed to supporting abortion access for all. My activism is grounded both in Jewish law and in my tradition’s understanding of our profound commitments to one another."
She also is a strong supporter of women's rights. Danya Ruttenberg stated:
"As a Jew, I am commanded by the Torah to fight for a just society—one with systems and structures that protect and empower everyone, especially those who are most marginalized and vulnerable. My tradition teaches that we serve God when we care for one another, and this principle animates all of my work at the National Council of Jewish Women, where we strive to improve the lives and rights of women, children, and families through grassroots education and advocacy work—including a 1,000-strong network of Rabbis for Repro—and in all of my writing and public scholarship."
Awards and honors
She was named one of The Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" in 2010 (36 most influential leaders under age 36), and the same year was named one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis by The Jewish Daily Forward.
- "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEEEE". danyaruttenberg.net. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Herschthal, Eric. "Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, 35". jewishweek.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
- Levitt, Aimee (August 21, 2019). "The Twitter rabbi". Chicago Reader. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
- "Rabbi's book explores her Jewish revival in the city by the Bay | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". Jweekly.com. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- Dorff, Elliot N.; Ruttenberg, Danya (2010). Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices ... - Danya Ruttenberg - Google Books. ISBN 9780827611245. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- "2010 Sami Rohr Prize Finalists". Jewish Book Council. 2009-11-23. Archived from the original on 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- "Introducing Some of the Jewish World's Newest Rabbis –". Forward.com. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- "When clothes don't make the man - or the woman | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". Jweekly.com. 2003-01-31. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- Ruttenberg, Danya (23 October 2001). Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism (9781580050579): Danya Ruttenberg, Susannah Heschel: Books. ISBN 1580050573.
- Ruttenberg, Danya (June 2009). The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (9780814776056): Danya Ruttenberg: Books. ISBN 978-0814776056.
- "Hillel Names Six New Senior Jewish Educators". Hillel.org. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- Ruttenberg, Danya (June 2009). The passionate Torah: sex and Judaism - Danya Ruttenberg - Google Books. ISBN 9780814776346. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- "About". Danya Ruttenberg. Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- "Nurture the Wow: Q&A with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg". Hillel.org. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- Ruttenberg, Danya (June 14, 2022). "My Religion Makes Me Pro-abortion". Retrieved July 30, 2022.
- Graves-Fitzsimmons, Guthrie (May 20, 2021). "21 Faith Leaders To Watch in 2021". Retrieved July 30, 2022.
- Eric Herschthal (2010-06-15). "Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, 35". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 2011-11-06.