Rabbi Leana Moritt

Rabbi Leana Moritt officially arrived as the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El of Jersey City in July of 2018. However, as a congregational leader, teacher and chaplain, she is no stranger to Temple Beth-El or the tri-state area’s Jewish community.

Prior to joining Beth-El, Rabbi Moritt served the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation as their part-time rabbi since 2007. There she was known as an engaging teacher of Torah and leader of prayer and chant.

Since 2001, Rabbi Moritt’s work has had a special focus on teaching Judaism to interfaith audiences and adults seeking to spiritually infuse or enter Jewish life.

Notably, Rabbi Moritt was the Director of Jewish Outreach at New York’s venerable 92nd St Y; instructor in the Union for Reform Judaism’s Introduction to Judaism Program; Director and Founder of Thresholds: For the Jewishly Curious; and instructor in the international Melton Adult Education Program. Her students know her for her warmth and ability to transmit a Judaism that is accessible, joyful and traditional yet relevant and modern. Through these and many other teaching venues, Rabbi Moritt has been guiding Jews, interfaith couples, families and Jews by choice toward more meaningful Jewish lives and a deeper understanding of Judaism. Her deep sensitivity to people’s Jewish connections and personal and spiritual needs has earned her the reputation as an expert in the field.

As a trained chaplain, Rabbi Moritt offered pastoral and spiritual care to the homebound elderly for Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest from 2015 to 2018.

Rabbi Moritt’s work also includes the creation and shaping of ritual. She was awarded the Rabbi Chana Timoner Creative Liturgy award by the Association of Rabbis and Cantors in 2008 for her work on innovative get (Jewish divorce) rituals.

Rabbi Moritt is a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Rabbinic Fellow. Her other professional associations include the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); OHALAH: The Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal; and Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains.

A native New Yorker, Rabbi Moritt is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin Division where she earned a B.A. after earning an A.A.S. in Business Administration.  Following graduation from NYU, she embarked on a successful 10-year career as Director of Production at Arista Records where she oversaw production of albums by many artists, including Whitney Houston, Kenny G, and The Grateful Dead.

Of all her work, she is proudest of the 3 amazing young men who call her Mom and currently lives in West Orange.

Cantor Risa Wallach
Cantor Risa Wallach, a native of small town Western Massachusetts, holds a Masters in Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work. She was ordained as Hazzan at Hebrew College in Newton Centre, MA where she also received a Masters of Jewish Education. She has served as medical social worker for eight years at Sutter Visiting Nurses and Hospice of San Francisco.
Cantor Wallach held a pulpit in Walnut Creek, CA at Congregation B’nai Shalom for the past 5 years. While there, she joined local people of faith as an elected member of the Contra Costa Interfaith Council, and engaged in interfaith efforts for increased tolerance and economic justice.

Cantor Wallach is delighted to be on the clergy team with Rabbi Moritt, and looks forward to many moments of sacred worship at Beth El, sharing in Yiddishkeit (the Jewish way of life) and striving together as a community for social justice. She is blessed to take part in this warm and diverse congregation. Cantor Wallach lives with her spouse, Rhette, in Union City.

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