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Rabbi Linda Holtzman

Adjunct Associate Professor of Practical Rabbinics; Rabbinic Formation Specialist, RRC

Rabbi Linda Holtzman (she, they) is the organizer of Tikkun Olam Chavurah, a community that pursues social justice. Holtzman is the former rabbi of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, where she had previously served as interim rabbi and as education director. She also has been rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation in Coatesville, Pa., where she was the first female rabbi to solely lead a congregation. One of the first rabbis to publicly identify as lesbian/queer, she served the LGTBQ synagogue, Beth Ahava, in Philadelphia. She is the founder of the Reconstructionist Hevra Kadisha, also in Philadelphia.

A leading social justice activist, she is a founding member of POWER, an interfaith organization committed to building communities of opportunity that work for all. She is also a founder of the New Sanctuary Movement, which works to end injustices against immigrants regardless of their immigration status.

As Acting Director of Rabbinic Formation and Student Life, Holtzman works with students to co-create a vibrant spiritual community. She also serves as a mentor, helping students navigate their own rabbinic paths, while providing supervision for internships and rabbinic job placements. Holtzman teaches a wide array of practical rabbinic skills, including leading life-cycle events and homiletics.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Temple University, her Bachelor of Arts in Hebrew letters from Gratz College and, in 1979, her rabbinic ordination from RRC.

Holtzman is the author of a chapter in Twice Blessed (Beacon Press, 1989), as well as the article “Struggle, Change and Celebration: My Life as a Lesbian Rabbi” in Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation, edited by Rebecca T. Alpert, Sue Levi Elwell and Shirley Idelson (Rutgers University Press, 2000).


Selected Courses

Rabbinic Communications/Homiletics: This course focuses on sermons, divrei torah and life-cycle events.

Senior Seminar: This course focuses on self-reflection about rabbinic identity formation, introduces some key practical areas of best practice for clergy and offers opportunities to learn from and interact with a diverse set of visiting rabbinic colleagues. 


Quoted in the Media

We ask forgiveness from the dead’: Why Jewish volunteers are washing bodies in a pandemic,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 28, 2020

Learning on the job: RRC students provide spiritual counseling and Jewish experience Online, ReconstructingJudaism.org, June 23, 2020

Jewish parents say they’re not alone after learning their stillborn son was buried in a mass grave in New Jersey,The Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 20, 2020

Thirty-three detained at Jewish-led protest against detention facilities,” Jewish Exponent, July 5, 2019

Faith leaders in NW Philly make their voices heard in the fight against racism,” WHYY, June 14, 2020

Reconnecting with faith through washing of dead,The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar 8, 2016


Selected Videos

Rabbi Linda Holtzman speaks about Seder Diversity as part of the Recon Connect Beit Midrash.

Rabbi Linda Holtzman asserts that Revelation in the Key of Reconstructionism as part of the Recon Connect Beit Midrash.



The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

The Reconstructionist Network