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Naomi Levy is an American rabbi, author and speaker.
She attended Cornell University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. In 1984, she was in the first class of women to enter The Jewish Theological Seminary's rabbinical school. At the seminary, Rabbi Levy received honors as outstanding underclass student of Talmud and outstanding underclass rabbinical student. In 1989, Rabbi Levy became the first female Conservative rabbi to head a pulpit on the West Coast. She led Congregation Mishkon Tephilo in Venice, CA for seven years.
Levy's first book, To Begin Again (1998), discusses recovery from suffering and tragedy, and relates her own loss when her father was murdered in an armed robbery when she was 15. Her 2002 book, Talking to God, discusses the transformative effect of prayer.
In 2004 Rabbi Levy founded Nashuva, a spiritual outreach service for Jews turned off to traditional Jewish service. Nashuva holds Shabbat services the first Friday of each month at a church in Brentwood, drawing capacity crowds of 300 people. Nashuva, which means "we will return" in Hebrew, also leads monthly social service and social action projects in the L.A. area. "The goal of prayer isn’t only personal peace," says the group's web site. "At Nashuva we believe that prayer leads us to action. It reminds us that we are here to heal this broken world. Nashuva is a service that leads to service."
Levy has appeared on NBC's Today Show and on Oprah, and has been featured in Parade (magazine), Redbook, SELF (magazine), and Los Angeles magazines. She serves on the faculties of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and the Academy of Jewish Religion. She lectures widely on topics of faith, strength, renewal, spirituality, healing and prayer.
In 2010 she published her third book, Hope Will Find You: My Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living, which deals with what happened after her then 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a serious disease.
Rabbi Levy lives in Venice, California with her husband, Robert Eshman, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, and their two children.
- Mathis Chazanov, "Mazel Tov! Arrival of 26-Year-Old Female Rabbi Revives Troubled Conservative Synagogue", Los Angeles Times, August 13, 1989.
- Diego Ribadeneira, "For rabbi and author, seeds of renewal were sown in tragedy", Boston Globe, November 14, 1998 (pay site).
- Mary Rourke, "A Rabbi's Road to Recovery", Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1998.
- Johanna Ginsberg, "Experimental service offers ‘return’ to worship", New Jersey Jewish News, May 12, 2010.
- Jonah Lowenfield, "A rabbi’s journey, a mother’s anxious path", Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, September 14, 2010.
- "The 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America", Newsweek, June 28, 2010.
- "Forward 50, 2010 Part Two", The Jewish Daily Forward, October 27, 2010.
- Andrea Sachs, "Rabbi Naomi Levy on Her Daughter's Condition, Finding Hope", TIME, October 6, 2010.
- Gabrielle Birkner, "From Pain to Revelation: How One Devastated Mother Left the ‘Waiting Room’", The Jewish Daily Forward, November 5, 2010.