Joy Levitt

Rabbi Joy Levitt helped shape the Reconstructionist movement as the first female head of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA). Levitt graduated from Barnard College in 1975 and earned a master’s degree the following year before her ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1981. She served as the RRA’s first female president from 1987–1989, and acted as rabbi for both B’nai Keshet in Montclair, New Jersey and the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Long Island for almost 20 years. She also co-edited the Reconstructionist haggadah, A Night of Questions, in 1999. In 1998 Levitt became executive director of the JCC in Manhattan, where she opened a new center in Harlem, helped the Jewish community weather the shock of 9/11, and offered public support for the building of an Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center. Newsweek named her one of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis of 2010 and 2011, and she was honored as one of the Forward 50 in 2011.

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Photo of Rabbi Joy Levitt by Diana Berrent, courtesy of Rabbi Levitt.

Date of Birth

Huntington, NY
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Joy Levitt." (Viewed on January 29, 2020) <>.


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