Leah Berkowitz

Leah Berkowitz

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

Blog Posts

Serach bat Asher

How Serach bat Asher Became My Patron Saint

by Leah Berkowitz

My mother had learned a version of the St. Anthony prayer from her Catholic coworkers: St. Anthony, St. Anthony, won’t you look around? Something is lost and must be found. She proceeded to recite this prayer next to the dumpster.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

She Said "Hello"

by Leah Berkowitz

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz reflects on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and explores the pressure placed on women to be "nice," even at the expense of their own wellbeing and safety.

Stock Image of Cat with Cat Food

I'm Over It

by Leah Berkowitz

I came to spend the rest of my afternoon hauling a case of cat food to the local housing project. I was glad to do it, though I didn’t know why the woman had reached out to our temple ... She was very happy to see me, but, in part due to the fact that I was wearing sneakers, I’m pretty sure she thought I was a well-meaning volunteer. When she did realize that I was, in fact, the rabbi, and not some emergency cat food delivery service, she got VERY EXCITED.

Stage with Microphone and Stool

Dear Male Comedian

by Leah Berkowitz

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.

Topics: Feminism, Comedy, Rabbis
Rabbi Leah Berkowitz at her Ordination

The Consequences of Professional “Negging”

by Leah Berkowitz

Having started my career young (and single, and a woman), I feared that congregations wouldn’t take me seriously. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that, once congregations invited me to be their rabbi, they’ve treated me as one, without question.

Topics: Feminism, Rabbis
The H-Spot Book Cover

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

by Leah Berkowitz

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

by Leah Berkowitz

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

by Leah Berkowitz

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?

by Leah Berkowitz

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

by Leah Berkowitz

The latest edition, The Jewish Wedding Now, came out this month, and I was delighted to interview Diamant after hearing her speak to the Women’s Rabbinic Network at our biennial convention.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Leah Berkowitz ." (Viewed on September 24, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/blog/author/leah-berkowitz>.

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