Rabbi Julie Greenberg is the spiritual leader of Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir, Heart of the City, in Philadelphia and a therapist in her practice, Counseling with Soul. She entered the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in 1983 when there was not a single "out" rabbi of a mainstream congregation. By 1989, due to lots of hard work by gays, lesbians and allies, RRC had a historic non-discrimination policy for gay and lesbian applicants and students and the Jewish world had stepped onto a slow but steady learning curve about diversity and inclusivity. Greenberg was one of the first rabbis in the world to do same-sex wedding ceremonies. "I'm committed to turning these rites into rights," she explains.
Before studying for the rabbinate, Greenberg was a full-time feminist activist working on the cultural roots of real-life violence as director of Women Against Violence. In 1980, she founded Mountain Meadow Country Experience, a sleep-away summer camp for children of LGBTQ families. She used a wilderness camp site on her mother's mountainous farm in south central Pennsylvania for the first seven years of the program. After a brief hiatus while Greenberg started her own family, the camp was reopened first on women's land in Ithaca, New York, and then at a rented Girl Scout camp close to the New Jersey shore.
Greenberg is the proud single-parent-by-choice of five children whom she shares with a gay male friend. She has published many articles and chapters, including a chapter in Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation. She contributed
"Portals to Sacred Family Life" to Chapters of the Heart: Jewish Women Sharing the Torah of Our Lives, edited by Sue Levi Elwell and Nancy Fuchs Kreimer (2013). Her book, Just Parenting: Building the World One Family at a Time, will be published in 2014. She conducts workshops on "Parenting as a Spiritual Path" and on "Torah of Parenting." "I've lived happily outside the box all my life and I hope to keep doing so for a long time to come."
(This statement provided by Julie Greenberg.)
Biography Date: July, 2004
Jewish (Reconstructionist) | Author/editor | Clergy Activist | Feminism | Women and Religion | Pennsylvania | Philadelphia