Leah Novick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Leah Novick (born 1932) is a Renewal rabbi and the oldest woman rabbi in the United States.[1][2][3] She lives in Carmel, California.[2][3][4]

She graduated from Brooklyn College and also earned a master's degree in public policy.[1] She worked as a social science researcher when her three children were young.[1] In the late 1950s, she was part of in sit-ins and lie-ins to integrate Westchester, Pennsylvania's swimming pools. [1] Later she moved to Westchester County, New York, where she helped organize Jewish groups to attend the 1963 March on Washington.[1] She ran unsuccessfully for the New York state Legislature in 1970 and moved to Washington to work as chief aide for Bella Abzug.[1] In 1977, she helped to coordinate the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year.[1] In 1978, she worked as a guest professor at Stanford.[1] During much of the 1980s she taught at U C Berkeley's graduate school of public policy.[1]

Novick was a founding member of OHALAH: Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.[2][3][5] She was ordained as a Jewish Renewal rabbi in 1987.[3] Novick was a founder of the Ruach Ha Aretz retreat group and two renewal congregations, Beit Shekhinah in Berkeley, California (1980s) and Shabbos in Carmel, California (1990s.) [3]

In 2012 she was the chief organizer of a retreat focusing on American women's 40 years as rabbis, called "Forty Years on the Bimah" and held October 28–30 at the Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, California.[2] According to Novick, this was the first interdenominational gathering of female rabbis.[2]

She is the author of the book "On the Wings of Shekhinah" Rediscovering Judaism's Divine Feminine (Quest Books 2008), as well as a book on the history of women at Democratic political conventions.[1][6] She has also recorded a CD of guided meditations with Desert Wind, and created the performance piece The Peaceful Macabee which is about groundbreaking Jewish women involved in spirituality.[7] As of 2013 she serves as president of the educational non-profit Spirit of the Earth.[7]

A collection of materials that document Rabbi Novick's work since her ordination in 1987 and her contributions to the Jewish Renewal movement are held at the Post-Holocaust American Judaism Archive in the University of Colorado Boulder.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Her career spans women's rights in DC to Renewal rabbi in Carmel". J. The Jewish News of Northern California. February 5, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Historic retreat marks women's 40 years as rabbis | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". J. The Jewish News of Northern California. 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Rabbi Leah Novick, founding member of OHALAH, to be honored at Boulder (August 2012)". Ohalah. 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  4. ^ "Quest Books". Quest Books. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  5. ^ "An International Transdenominational Association of Rabbis". Ohalah. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  6. ^ "Healing Sanctuary France". International Association of Metaphysicians. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  7. ^ a b "Brief Biographies | Forty Years on the Bimah". Womenonthebimah.org. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  8. ^ "Post-Holocaust American Judaism and the Reb Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi Collection". Program in Jewish Studies, University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved 2014-02-21.

External links[edit]