Rabbi Leana Moritt
Rabbi Leana Moritt is the founder and Rabbinic Director of Thresholds. She established Thresholds after working at the forefront of Jewish outreach and engagement as the Director of Jewish Outreach at the venerable 92nd Street Y in New York. Through her work there with the renowned introduction to Judaism program, Derekh Torah (“Way of Torah”), she guided interfaith couples, Jews, families and Jews by choice toward more meaningful Jewish lives and a deeper understanding of Judaism. Serving hundreds of people yearly, the program has served thousands of students over the past (almost) 25 years. There Rabbi Moritt was known for her ability to transmit a Judaism which is accessible, joyful and traditional yet relevant and modern. Her deep sensitivity to people’s Jewish connections and personal and spiritual needs has earned her the reputation as an expert in the field.
After establishing herself as an engaging and beloved
teacher in the program in 2001, she was elevated to the post of Director of
Jewish Outreach in 2003. In that
capacity, she also supervised the curriculum and teaching staff of Derekh
Torah, the cornerstone of 92Ys Jewish outreach focus, and oversaw the 92Y’s
Jewish outreach adult education programs.
On staff until 2009, she remains on the teaching faculty.
In addition to Derekh Torah, while at the 92nd Street Y, she directed the Y's long-running Workshops for Interfaith Couples, After the Huppah: Making Marriage Work, Spirituality Series and adult seminars. She was the rabbinic supervisor for the Jewish Coaching, Counseling and Consultation program and led their Passover Seders and many holiday celebrations. There she also initiated several new educational programs, including education for parents and grandparents of interfaith couples; a series of workshops for parents of young children, "Bringing It Home: Habaita," geared to empower parents to create meaningful Jewish home experiences for their families; Spiritual Journeys for Women and "Rabbi, I Was Wondering."
In addition to her work with
Thresholds, Rabbi Moritt is the Rabbi of the Roosevelt Island Jewish
Congregation, a pluralistic and egalitarian congregation she has led since
2007. There her leadership and
services create an atmosphere of warmth, participation and song. Her focus on education to every
generation in the congregation serves to deepen the understanding of Jewish
tradition, celebration and history and our connection to our global community. In 2010, she was named a Rabbi Without Borders Fellow with CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
Rabbi Moritt is also a gifted singer and facilitator of life cycle events, such as weddings, baby namings and funerals. Her work also includes the creation and shaping of ritual. She was awarded the Rabbi Chana Timoner Creative Liturgy award by the Association of Rabbis and Cantors in 2008 for her innovative work on Get rituals (Jewish divorce) within a traditional setting. Meant to balance the passive feminine role in the get process without affecting its legal force, it is a truly creative and pluralistic work.
Native to the New York area, Rabbi Moritt was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion, the nation's first Jewish pluralistic seminary (est. 1956) in Riverdale, NY. She was later additionally ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi’s ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal program, where she is on the rabbinic faculty teaching entering clergy. She is a member of ARC, the Association of Rabbis and Cantors, OHALAH, the Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal, the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and the Northern New Jersey Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Moritt holds a B.A from New York University's Gallatin Division and an A.A.S. in Business Administration.
Prior to her career as a rabbi, Rabbi Moritt had a successful 10-year career as Director of Production at Arista Records where she oversaw production of albums by Whitney Houston, Kenny G, and The Grateful Dead among others. While still a lover of music, she retired from the music business in 1994 and dedicated herself as an active leader in the Jewish community in and around New York. She co-founded Congregation Kol HaNeshamah in, in Englewood, NJ in 1997 and has been active in Congregation B'nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side since 1990 where she has served and taught in a variety of settings. More recently Rabbi Moritt has worked as a founding rabbinic consultant to Bridgepath in New York, a new model for synagogue life. She has taught and led services all over the tri-state area and continues to be active in both the New Jersey and New York Jewish communities.
Rabbi Moritt has also trained as a chaplain under the auspices of the HealthCare Chaplaincy at the Hackensack University Medical Center, where she currently sits on the Interfaith Pastoral Care Committee. She has three children and lives in Tenafly, NJ.
Contact us: Email Rabbi Moritt at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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