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Leah Berkowitz

Leah Berkowitz
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Leah Berkowitz

Rabbi Leah Rachel Berkowitz is the spiritual leader of Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, NY. She blogs at thisiswhatarabbilookslike.wordpress.com.

Blog posts

Stage with Microphone and Stool

Dear Male Comedian

I spend a lot of time trying to shift the focus away from my appearance, my love life, and my sexuality. By sizing me up in front of my entire community, you undid three years of that work in 30 seconds.

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz at her Ordination

The Consequences of Professional “Negging”

May 4th marks the tenth anniversary of my ordination. Over the last ten years, I’ve been blessed with three diverse positions that have taught me a lot. At this juncture, I am exactly where I want to be professionally: serving as a solo rabbi in a small congregation close to a northeastern city.

Topics: Feminism, Rabbis
The H-Spot Book Cover

More than “Galentine's Day”: Recognizing Female Friendships

Recently, a few of my clergywomen friends dropped by a congregational Shabbat dinner, and we spent the latter half of the evening catching up while people finished their meal. Some members of my community didn’t know how to process the presence of these women at my table, and a few expressed resentment that my attention was divided.

Ask Me Another Rubiks Cube

That Time I Apologized for Winning

As it turns out, I’m pretty good at word games, and I like to win. Once I figured the pattern of the game, I was able to answer the questions quickly and correctly. I didn’t even have a problem with the buzzer, as I’d feared. Somehow, I also had the mental bandwidth to realize that my behavior made it apparent that I was completely uncomfortable with winning.

Topics: Feminism
Rabbi Berkowitz at a Bat Mitzvah

Rabbinic Work and the Second Shift

Recently, I fielded two calls in one week about the under-representation of women rabbis: one was from an academic journal, the other was from a non-profit organization assembling a delegation of rabbis for a service-learning trip. Both of them needed more women to participate in their programs.

I said no.

A First-Generation Argentine Woman with her Daughter, 1936

Am I Glad My Mother Didn’t Abort Me?

I have one rule when it comes to writing opinion pieces: Never read the comments...It was harder to ignore the handwritten letter that arrived at my office.

Anita Diamant With the Jewish Wedding Now

An Interview with Anita Diamant

As wedding season kicks into high gear for rabbis everywhere, I’d be lost without The New Jewish Wedding, which has just been revised for the third time.

Shabbat Candles

Shabbat is a Two-Person Job

As an assistant rabbi, I'd found a rhythm: simple Friday night meals with friends; long, lazy Saturday afternoons to myself. Someday, I hoped to be partnered, and develop a new system, similar to my senior rabbi and his wife.

Topics: Rabbis
Members of the Commission on the Ordination of Women Rabbis

The One Personal Question You SHOULD Ask a Rabbinical Candidate in an Interview

If you want to ask your (future) rabbi a personal question, it should be: “How can we best support you?”

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post comparing rabbinical placement to dating. It was meant to be lighthearted advice for my colleagues as they searched for “the one”: a congregation that would nurture and challenge them during the next phase of their career. Now, as some of my new colleagues enter the job market for the first time, I have some advice for the search committees.

Topics: Rabbis
This is Where I Leave You, Main Image, Film, 2015

Sitting Shiva Post-Election

It wasn’t until people started calling me on Wednesday to express their condolences for “my loss” that I realized that I am grieving. I’m not grieving because I am disappointed that we didn’t shatter the glass ceiling, or because my party didn’t “win.” I am grieving because a candidate was elected to this country’s highest office by running on a platform of hatred and fear. I am grieving for the America I knew, for all of the setbacks that women and minorities are going to suffer, and for all the progress that was about to be undone.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Leah Berkowitz ." (Viewed on May 23, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/author/leah-berkowitz>.

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