Rabbi Simcha Zevit was ordained in 2011 through Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Her path of learning and teaching is one of connecting the inner Torah of our own hearts and souls to the written Torah and teachings of our tradition. “There is a teaching in a core traditional text that speaks of prayer, stating that it’s better to do a little with great kavannah (intention/meaning), than to do a lot without kavannah. As a rabbi, I want to help people find the inner spark of meaning and connection to their outer words, prayers, and actions (mitzvot), fanning that spark into a flame that shines brightly.”
She embraces people of all backgrounds, belief, and disbelief, encouraging them to learn, and to experiment in how to create meaningful, personally relevant, and joyful Jewish lives, while balancing their unique needs and understandings with those of the community, and with our age old tradition. “We cannot travel this path on our own. Engaging in a Jewish community means that we all have responsibility not only for ourselves, but also for each other, and for the world we live in.”
Rabbi Simcha brings many years of experience as a Jewish educator, working with adults, teens, and children in a variety of settings. She is a ritual-maker and facilitator for traditional and creative life-cycle celebrations and transitions, an inspiring prayer and chant leader, and in addition to her teaching, community building, and life cycle work, she has spent the last several years serving as a chaplain to people of all faiths in hospital and hospice settings. She is currently a staff chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to being our rabbi.
Having recently relocated to Philadelphia from Cleveland, Ohio, Rabbi Simcha brings to us her many years of experience in building community, as founder and director of a non-profit organization called HaMakom. HaMakom brought together Jews, and all who wished to learn, for teachings and spiritual practice groups such as prayer, chant, mussar (a path of refining one’s character traits), Jewish yoga, and contemplative Torah study. “The name HaMakom is from one of my favorite lines of Torah, found in Genesis (28:17), and spoken when Jacob wakes up from his dream of a ladder that reaches from earth to heaven. In the dream, God’s presence touches Jacob for the first time. He wakes up from the dream and says ‘How awesome is this Place (the Place is HaMakom); God was in this place, and I, I did not know it.’ Something happened in HaMakom that awakened Jacob to an awareness of the holiness all around him. Rabbi Simcha seeks to cultivate that awareness in herself and others.
You can reach Rabbi Simcha at email@example.com. She would be delighted to hear from you.