Rabbi - Educator - Musician

Rabbi Jessica Lenza

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About Me

I am a Rabbi, Educator, and Musician committed to connecting all kinds of people to Judaism

© Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

Rabbi

I connect people to Jewish ritual, Jewish tradition, and Jewish community. I create profound sacred moments whether it is for a congregation on shabbat and holidays or it is a personalized ceremony to celebrate a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah. My sermons illuminate ancient Jewish concepts and make them relevant to our modern lives. I have worked in a variety of Jewish communities including Hillels and Reform, Conservative and Unaffiliated synagogues.  

Educator

Education is at the heart of what it means to be a rabbi. I relish teaching classes for any age. I have created innovative educational programming in both formal and informal settings. I supervise teams of teachers and support them in deepening their own knowledge of Judaism and pedagogy. As an innately organized person, I have successfully administrated complex programs that collaborate with many community organizations. 

Musician

Jewish music was my first love. Little brings me greater satisfaction than elevating a special moment to a spiritual experience with music. As a singer, I have been trained in many styles from folk to broadway, but my favorite is leading a community to sing with me. I use my proficiency in guitar, ukulele, and hand drum to encourage participation. 

“I will sing to HaShem because God has been good to me!” 

Psalm 13:6

Music

If you enjoy my music or want to learn more check out my youtube channel

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© Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com
RABBI JESSICA LENZA

Spiritual Creativity ~ Engaging Educational Programming ~ Strong Leadership ~ Beautiful Sacred Moments

 

Profile of Qualifications

  • Infuses prayer experiences with joy, participation, and spiritually inviting content
  • Talented singer and musician with proficiency in guitar, ukulele, and hand drum
  • Creates deeply meaningful and personalized life cycle events including baby namings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and weddings
  • Consistently promotes diversity and fosters strong community relations
  • Able to incorporate  performing arts into compelling Jewish education
  • Experienced innovative curriculum writer for both formal and informal settings

Professional Development

  • Mayyim Hayyim Mikveh Guide Training, 2014
  • Mechon Hadar High Holiday Music Intensive, 2013
  • Pardes Year Program, 2009 to 2010
  • Storahtelling Maven Training and Storahlab Seminar, 2008
  • Facing History and Ourselves Training, 2007
  • Hava Nashira Jewish Music Conference, 2003, 2007, 2008
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2016-Present

Education Associate
The Jewish Journey Project
  • Supervise and support teachers enhancing their pedagogical skills and enriching their Jewish knowledge.
  • Plan and facilitate monthly family meetups for JJP@JJC families and weekly JJP@Home class.
  • Revise and expand Shabbat & Holiday Table Talks online class.
  • Work collaboratively with Director to administrate program.

2014 - 2015

Director of Beit Rabban Religious School and Family Programming
Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA
  • Spearhead planning and coordination of religious school and family programming at prominent, unaffiliated synagogue.
  • Direct and supervise staff of educators providing feedback and support on teaching styles, methods of engaging students and implementing curriculum.
  • Conduct participatory T’fillot Mishpachot (family prayer) and intergenerational services.

2008 - Present

Maven
Storahtelling, New York, NY & London, UK
  • Effectively perform modern, original, and dramatic translations of the Torah for internationally recognized Jewish ritual theater group.
  • Deliver Children’s High Holy Day programming and conduct religious school faculty development course.
  • Wrote and performed a successful original production about Passover which has been reproduced several times at the Manhattan JCC

2013 - 2014

Rabbinic Intern
Congregation Ahavas Achim, Newburyport, MA
  • Created high-impact adult and family education programs at historic, pluralist congregation.
  • Conducted junior congregation for ages 9-13.
  • Delivered divrei Torah, created and implemented Hebrew school lessons and community Shabbaton programming.

2007 - 2009

Full-Time Teacher
Central Synagogue, New York, NY
  • Effectively taught grades 3-6 in one of Manhattan’s most prestigious synagogues.
  • Created original sixth grade curriculum focused on general Jewish knowledge, Hebrew reading proficiency, Holocaust studies and the history of the modern State of Israel.
  • Created original 3rd grade Hebrew curriculum to expand vocabulary and fluency in reading.
  • Conducted t’filah experiences including daily prayer, family High Holy Day services and family Shabbat services.

Summer 2007

Jewish Life Director / Music Specialist
Manhattan JCC Day Camp, Pearl River Site, NY
  • Partnered with senior staff to create and deliver curriculum on Jewish values.
  • Created Shabbat programs and taught Jewish music classes.

Summer 2003

Song Leader
B’nai B’rith Youth Organization Perlman Camp, Starlight, PA
  • Conducted weekday and Shabbat services, as well as Jewish music classes and discussions on Judaism.
SERVICE LEADING

Harvard Hillel, Cambridge, MA, 2014, 2015

Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Chestnut Hill, MA, 2013

University of Illinois Hillel, Champaign, IL, 2013

Trinity College Hillel, Hartford, CT, 2011 to 2012

Cardiff Reform Temple, Cardiff, Wales, 2010

Kane Street Synagogue, Brooklyn, NY, 2008

Temple Concord, Binghamton, NY, 2006

Key Highlights:

  • Conducted High Holiday services for students and faculty at three university Hillels in both Reform and Conservative minyanim.
  • Inspired congregations with sermons and shabbat and holiday classes.
  • Offered an alternative Rosh Hashanah prayer experience.
  • Conducted family services and Shabbaton services.
  • Demonstrated expertise in creating musical services with and without instruments.
EDUCATION & HONORS

Hebrew College
Rabbinic Ordination, 2015
Master’s in Jewish Studies, 2015

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem, IL/New York, NY, 2005 to 2007
Cantorial Program in the School of Sacred Music

Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 2005
Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies
Bachelor of Arts in Music

  • Dean’s List all semesters and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Received David Fowler Atkins, Jr. Prize in recognition of “promise of future usefulness in service to religious communities”.
  • Received Francis Shunk Downs Award awarded for demonstrating “best all-around growth and development in academic and extracurricular activities while exercising outstanding leadership and influence upon campus”.

I want to hear from you

Get in touch with me!