Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz is rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, PA. She has strong
roots in eastern Pennsylvania, where she and her family belonged to Temple Sholom in
Broomall, PA. After many transformative experiences, both at URJ Camp Harlam and with the
North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), she decided to become a rabbi.
Rabbi Berkowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University where she earned a B.A. in Near Eastern
and Judaic Studies and Journalism. She attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of
Religion where she earned a Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature (2007) and a Master of Arts in
Religious Education (2008). She was ordained as a rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in New York City
on May 4, 2008.
Rabbi Berkowitz previously served as the rabbi of Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, NY (2015-
2018), and as the associate rabbi at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, NC (2008-2013).
She also taught Judaic Studies on the faculty of Gann Academy in Waltham, MA (2013-2015).
Her community and religious service includes serving as a member of Concerned Clergy for
Choice at Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. She served two terms as the Network’s vice
president and is currently the co-president of the Women’s Rabbinic Network.
Rabbi Berkowitz served on the editorial board of the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish
Quarterly. She also collaborated on the creation of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary,
Mishkan Ha-Nefesh, the Reform movement’s new High Holy Day prayer book and Mishkan Ha-
Nefesh for Youth, which was released at the 2017 Biennial.
Rabbi Berkowitz’s passions include creative midrash, heroic women in the Bible, writing and
storytelling, and creating inspiring worship, learning, and life cycle experiences. Her goal as a
rabbi is to empower people to live their best lives by creating meaningful experiences rooted in
the Jewish story.
A prolific writer, her essays have appeared in the Jewish Women’s Archive Blog, The Sacred
Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate, God: Jewish Choices for Struggling with the
Ultimate and Spirituality 101: Your Guide to Keeping-or Finding-Your Spiritual Life on
Campus. Her short stories have appeared in the Drum Literary Magazine, The Helix Literary
Magazine and Jewish Women’s Literary Annual.
Her first book for children is The World Needs Beautiful Things (2018 KarBen), and her second,
Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants (Apples and Honey Press 2022).