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.

Cantorial Soloist: Director of Education Marian Kleinman
Marian Gorewitz Kleinman Alone, I cannot lift my voice in song.

Then you come near and sing with me.

Our prayers fuse and a new voice soars

Our bond is beyond voice and voice

Our bond is one of spirit and spirit!

(based on the teachings of Rabbi Pinchas Koretz)

Our Cantorial Soloist: Director of Education Marian Gorewitz Kleinman holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from Gratz College as well as an MA in Creative Writing from The City College of NY. While at Gratz, she earned a recognition award for her academic achievement in the field of Liturgy. With her profound attention to promoting social action and human kindness, she recently published a memoir describing the heroic work of Freide Heller Gorewitz (z’’l), her mother, who was a member of the Belgian Holocaust Resistance during the Shoah.

Marian was the Principal for seven years at Beth Am Temple in Pearl River, NY, and concurrently was the Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Agudas Achim in Livingston Manor, NY. More recently, she served for two years as the Cantorial Soloist and Principal at Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation – Emek Shalom in Simsbury, CT. She briefly served on the Board of the Women Cantors Network (WCN), an international association and is a member of ARJE, HavaNashira, NewCAJE, and several others. Her background also includes being the religious school principal, choir and music director at Temple of Israel (Wilmington, North Carolina); NJ and NY teaching certification; and part-time free-lance journalism. She’s taught at several online colleges and community colleges as well as at public school. She’s earned several awards and fellowships including the 1989 Louis Ginsberg Memorial Fellowship.

Marian is delighted to partner with Rabbi Moritt here at Temple Beth-El Jersey City. She derives inspiration from the rich history and warmth of our congregation and by our commitment to social justice pursuits.

She plays guitar and enjoys reading, dance, art, baking, nature hikes, studying Hebrew and chanting Torah, yoga, activities with her family, and gardening. Marian grew up in Rockland County, NY, where her parents were founding members of Temple Beth Sholom in New City and her mother was active in the Jewish community and in the local Hadassah. Marian teaches part-time in the CST Department at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes and has lived in New Jersey for three years. She and her daughter Rosa, a student at Yale, live in New Milford, NJ.

Marian invites you to be in touch! For information about her book and listen to some recordings, visit her website at www.mariankleinman.com.

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