Joy Levitt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joy Levitt is an American rabbi and from 1987 to 1989 was the first female president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.[1] Levitt is also the founder of the Jewish Journey Project, an initiative that attempts to replace individual synagogue schools (in Manhattan) with an elective-driven communal coalition.[2] She and her husband Rabbi Michael Strassfeld are coeditors of the A Night of Questions Passover Haggadah, published by the Reconstructionist Press.[3] She was until December 2021 the CEO of the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center. In addition to the Jewish Journey Project, Levitt has presided over some of the JCC's biggest accomplishments, including the founding of the Adaptations program, the Literacy and Math Tutoring Program, Saturday Morning Community Partners, the Other Israel and ReelAbilities Film Festivals, and oversaw the creation of the JCC's ten Centers of Excellence, including the groundbreaking Wechsler Center for Modern Aging, founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 16 Over 61 Honors in 2021. She also spearheaded advocacy efforts such as the New York response to the ''Save Darfur'' Coalition rally in 2006; the 2021 Save the Climate march to Battery Park; the Upper West Side's response to the 2018 Tree of Life massacre and the January 6, 2021 Capitol Insurrection; the UWS response and starting point for the March for Our Lives (for gun safety); and organized advocacy for immigration with HIAS following the closing of the US borders to predominantly Muslim countries in early 2017.

In 2008 the PBS series "The Jewish Americans" had her as a featured commentator.[4] In 2010 she was named one of fifty of the most influential rabbis in America by The Sisterhood, The Jewish Daily Forward's women's issues blog.[5] She was also named by Newsweek (in 2010 and 2011) as one of the most influential rabbis in America.[6]

In 1975 she earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, followed by a master's degree from New York University in 1976 and a rabbinical degree from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1981.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Academic Dean and Professor of Church History Emeritae Rosemary Skinner Keller; Rosemary Radford Ruether; Marie Cantlon (2006). Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America: Native American creation stories. Indiana University Press. pp. 553–. ISBN 0-253-34687-8.
  2. ^ "New Jewish Education". December 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  3. ^ "A Night of Questions: Passover Haggadah". Archived from the original on 2012-09-15.
  4. ^ "PBS Video". PBS. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  5. ^ "The Sisterhood 50". The Jewish Daily Forward. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Newsweek List Takes a Page From 'The Sisterhood 50'". The Jewish Daily Forward. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Schenectady Gazette". Retrieved 29 October 2014.