Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz

A woman with glasses and straight brown hair stands smiling in front of a bookcase holding a book titled "Maybe It Happened This Way"

Rabbi Leah Rachel Berkowitz (she/her/hers) is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, PA and serves as faculty at the URJ Six Points Creative Arts Academy. Leah is a past president of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and has contributed to many Reform movement projects, including The Torah: A Women’s Commentary; The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate; Mishkan HaNefesh for Youth; and Prophetic Voices: Renewing and Reimagining Haftarah. She is the author of three picture books: The World Needs Beautiful Things, Queen Vashti's Comfy Pants, and The Moving Box Sukkah (Apples and Honey Press, September 2023), as well as the middle-grade midrash collection Maybe It Happened This Way: Bible Stories Reimagined  (with co-author Erica Wovsaniker). You can find her on social media @rabbilrb or online at leahrachelberkowitz.com.

The Ones Who Cross Over

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz

Our people are called by many names throughout the Tanach, but my personal favorite is one of the earliest: ivri, which means “Hebrew.”

Showing Your Work: The Legacy of the Daughters of Zelophechad

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz

There are few biblical passages that speak to the feminist and the progressive Jew in me as much as the story of the daughters of Zelophechad. Five women—Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah—come before the all-male leadership of the Israelites and demand the right to inherit their father’s portion of the Promised Land.

What Did Balaam Really See?

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz

This week, we read the story of Balaam, a sorcerer hired by the Moabite king to curse the Israelites. This tale contains several puzzling elements: a talking donkey, an angel with a fiery sword, and a non-Israelite sorcerer who becomes God’s mouthpiece.

Korach’s Song

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz

Each Shabbat at the URJ Six Points Creative Arts Academy, a group of campers, staff, and faculty come together to perform “Jewsical,” an original song about the week’s Torah portion. Most weeks, the musical arrangement is just as significant as the words.

"Patience, Grasshopper"

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz

“Patience, grasshopper.” My dad said this so often when I was growing up, I didn’t realize it was a quote from a 1970s television show, “Kung Fu,” until I was in my thirties. From what I can gather, these words served as a warning from master to student: think things through, have faith in the process, and wait for the right moment. I always think of these words when we reach this week’s Torah portion.