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Rabbanit Leah Sarna is setting the bar for Orthodox women leadership in Chicago and beyond. Since starting her role as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, Leah has worked to revolutionize educational programming. She spearheads women's Kabbalat Shabbat and Torah reading services and started a popular congregational podcast called "The Straw Hat."
When she moved to Chicago, Leah brought with her a host of educational and leadership training experiences. After studying Torah in Israel at the Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, Leah earned her B.A in Philosophy and Psychology at Yale University, followed by a four-year course of training in Jewish Law and pastoral care at Yeshivat Maharat in New York City as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She's also been a Hartman Rabbinical Student Fellow and a JOIN for Justice Rabbinic and Cantorial Leadership for Public Life Fellow.
Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation in Lakeview
ON THE SIDE:
Baking bread, long walks on Lake Michigan
Married to Chicago native Ethan Schwartz
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
HOW YOU JEW IN CHICAGO:
At ASBI, of course! Also, one of the most amazing things about Lakeview, in particular, is how all of the local clergy of all denominations work together. Our community sees this on display the most on Shavuot, when the local synagogues come together for one big Tikkun Leil Shavuot, but we also work together very regularly on our 20s-30s programming with the JCC and on pastoral/social issues affecting our congregants with JCFS.
CHICAGO'S JEWISH COMMUNITY IN 10 YEARS:
At ASBI our young professionals serve on the executive committee of our synagogue. I hope to see other historic Chicago Jewish organizations open their doors to diverse, multi-generational leadership in the same way.