Leah Novick papers
Scope and Content
The Leah Novick papers include materials from Rabbi Leah Novick’s political career and activism as well as materials gathered since her rabbinical ordination in 1987 that revolve around contributions to the Jewish Renewal movement as a whole and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal more specifically. As part of the Leah Novick Legacy Project, the collection may increase in size and variety of content.
Series 1: Political Career, 1970-1983
Series 2: Rabbinical Life, 1987-2004
Subseries 1: Sermons and lectures
Subseries 2: Publications
Subseries 3: Peaceful Maccabee
- Creation: 1970-2010
Language of Materials
Language of Materials
The collection is open for research.
Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.
Leah Novick (born 1932) grew up in Scranton, New Jersey. In her teens, her family moved to New York City where she attended an after-school Jewish and Hebrew program and considered herself a Zionist. She graduated from Brooklyn College and also earned a master's degree in public policy. She worked as a social science researcher. In the late 1950s, she was part of in sit-ins and lie-ins to integrate West Chester, Pennsylvania’s swimming pools. Later she moved to Westchester County, New York, where she helped organize Jewish groups to attend the 1963 March on Washington.
Novick ran unsuccessfully for the New York state Legislature in 1970 and moved to Washington to work as chief aide for Bella Abzug, an American lawyer, U.S. Representative, social activist and a leader of the Women's Movement. In 1977, Novick helped to coordinate the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year. In 1978, she worked as a guest professor at Stanford. During much of the 1980s she taught at UC Berkeley’s graduate school of public policy.
Novick was a founding member of OHALAH: Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal. She was ordained as a Jewish Renewal rabbi in 1987. Novick was a founder of the Ruach Ha’Aretz Summer Retreat for ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and two renewal congregations, Beit Shekhinah in Berkeley, California (1980′s) and Shabbos in Carmel, California (1990′s.)In 2012 she was the chief organizer of a retreat focusing on American women’s 40 years as rabbis, called “Forty Years on the Bimah” and held Oct. 28-30 at the Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, California.
She is the author of the book "On the Wings of Shekhinah" Rediscovering Judaism´s Divine Feminine (Quest Books 2008), as well as a book on the history of women at Democratic political conventions. She has also recorded a CD of guided meditations with Desert Wind, and created the performance piece The Peaceful Maccabee about notable Jewish women involved in spirituality. From 2013 she has served as president of the educational non-profit Spirit of the Earth.
3.5 linear feet (5 total boxes 1 record box, 4 boxes of other types)
The Leah Novick Papers include materials from Rabbi Leah Novick’s political career and activism as well as materials gathered since her rabbinical ordination in 1987 that revolve around contributions to the Jewish Renewal movement as a whole and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal more specifically.
Gift of Leah Novick in 2011 as part of the Leah Novick Legacy Project. Some items gifted by Sarah Grafstein.
Processed by Heather Ryan, December 2016.
Machine Readable Finding Aid by Jane Thaler, February 2017.
- Finding Aid of the Leah Novick Papers, 1970-2010
- Edited Full Draft
- Heather Ryan, 2016 and Jane Thaler, 2017
- © 2017
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