Rabbi Leah Lewis
Rabbi Leah Lewis grew up in nearby Riverside. She developed a strong identification with Judaism at an early age, both from her family’s influence and from a longstanding involvement with Jewish summer camps and youth groups. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. After graduating from UCSB, Rabbi Lewis spent a year as a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington D.C., researching various public policy issues from a Jewish perspective and advocating for these issues on behalf of Reform Judaism. After spending time in rabbinical school on the Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York campuses of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and receiving Masters degrees in Jewish Communal Service and Hebrew Letters, Rabbi Lewis was ordained in the spring of 2002. Along the way, she held positions at the Valley Alliance office of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Union for Reform Judaism’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns. While at HUC, she also served congregations in Redding, CA, Las Vegas, NV and Scarsdale, NY. She has worked at and spent many summers with Jewish youth at a variety of Reform Jewish camps. Following ordination, she served for seven years at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles.. From 2009-2011, she served on the faculty at Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School in Irvine, CA as a teacher, Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies and Dean of Jewish Life. From 2011-2017, Rabbi Lewis served as Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at Congregation Shir HaMa'alot in Irvine. She is married to David Lewis, a fellow professional pursuer of Jewish learning and engagement. On the rare occasion that she is not busy with synagogue life or her three children, Gabriel, Jonah and Nomi, Rabbi Lewis enjoys running, hiking, yoga, cooking and an occasional baseball game.