I was raised in an interfaith family that consciously chose Judaism. Thankfully, we were always fully accepted in the Jewish communities we sought to be a part of. My parents had a Jewish wedding and were able to educate their children Jewishly and become active in synagogue life. That acceptance had a transformative impact on my family. My mother converted to Judaism, and soon after, my father, who had taught music to us in religious school, decided to become a cantor. So, when I was 12, we moved to Israel where my father would begin cantorial school.
Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy has served as the rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Emet since July 2014. She is a creative educator, service leader, and ritual maker, infusing song and spirit into her services and teachings. Rabbi Anna places a high emphasis on relationships based on trust and mutual respect. She is dedicated to the creation of healthy and inclusive congregations where every voice can be heard. Rabbi Anna grew up in an interfamily household and strives to integrate the diverse, multi-faceted backgrounds and cultural identities of congregants into the fabric of synagogue life.
Prior to coming to Kol Emet, Rabbi Anna served as the rabbi and education director of Tzedek v’Shalom, a Reconstructionist community also located in Bucks County. In that time, Rabbi Anna built important ties to larger Bucks County Jewish, interfaith, and faith-based groups. She a member of the Newtown-Yardley Ministerium, the Yardley chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom, and the Bucks County Rabbis Council, for which she served as chair and organized the first interdenominational Introduction to Judaism class in Bucks County. She currently is a leader in the Lower Bucks chapter of POWER, an organization which seeks to organize people of faith who care about justice and equality.
Rabbi Anna’s experiences in Israel were a foundational part of her decision to become a rabbi and sparked in her a passion for social justice. Rabbi Anna has lived and studied in Israel on four separate occasions. While studying in Israel during rabbinical school, she was an Aaron Zeigelman Social Justice Fellow and interned for Bat Shalom, an Israeli feminist peace organization. She took part of the first American Jewish World Service rabbinical student delegation to El Salvador in 2004, where she learned first-hand the effects of globalization on the local economy and rural poor families. More recently, she participated in the first rabbinic delegation to visit Immokalee, Florida, organized by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, where she witnessed the living and working conditions of migrant farmworkers.
Rabbi Anna served as the Board co-chair of T’ruah from 2013-15 and has served on its national board since 2005. She is currently a board member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association as serves on its Executive Committee. Rabbi Anna is a 2006 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Rabbi Anna lives in Yardley with her spouse, Josh, who is an attorney, and their three young daughters Adar, Zara and Olive. They are sources for much laughter, inspiration, and continued devotion to Jewish life.
My first religious school experience was in an old, dark and moldy building in New York City. We all sat, hands crossed, petrified to share or speak, 2 hours a day, 5 afternoons a week. It was then I thought to myself, there has got to be a better way! And so, 10 years later, when I chose my profession, I committed myself to improving the plight of Jewish education for children. Since then it has been a learning experience every year. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, there is another issue or idea evolving.
Throughout the years, I have committed the school, and style of teaching, to retain 4 very important values. The first is to treat every child with dignity and respect. The second is to use every moment in school as a teaching moment. The third is to combine fun, creativity and hands on experience within our school. And the fourth is to constantly listen to parents and students and adapt to meet the needs of our community.
My education includes graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University. I have also studied abroad at Tel Aviv University, and I attended graduate school at the Jewish Theological Seminary and Gratz college. My employment experiences have always been at synagogue schools where I have been a teacher in preschools and religious schools and held directorships in both Early Childhood and Religious education.
Personally I have lived, studied, traveled and worked in Israel. I am married, and have 4 children who keep me very busy with ice hockey, wrestling and soccer. In my free time I enjoy family time, and design and painting Ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts).
Working at Congregation Kol Emet has been a dream come true. Because the Reconstructionist Movement is so open and flexible, I am able to use my creativity and enthusiasm to educate students of all ages.
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