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.
People often ask me why I love being Jewish. I always answer, “I love being Jewish because it encourages me to be a good person, live my values and share my love of smiling while fulfilling one or more of the 613 Mitzvot.”
My goal for all students and families is to instill the same love. I often say, “Did you know that person is Jewish?” “Did you know that gaga started in Israel?” “Did you know that the Torah took a ride in a space shuttle and was opened and read on Shabbat?” “Do you hold the door or smile at someone as you walk by them?” Why do I ask these questions? Because I believe that Judaism is a way of life, and that living a Jewish life can be fun.
I have worked in Jewish Education, since the week after my Bat Mitzvah when I started tutoring younger B’nai Mitzvah students. I am a professional teacher and long-time Jewish Communal Professional. For many years, I was the Director of the Abrams Day Camp at the JCC, and I enjoy bringing that same camp spirit to wherever I go.
The greatest gift that I give to my students is the one that I gave to my daughter: a love of Judaism and Israel. At 19 years old, she moved to Israel to make Aliyah and join the IDF. When people ask me how I could let her do that, my answer is that she’s doing just what I raised her to be: Jewish and to love Israel. She is just a little extreme!
As Religious School Director, I am committed to making everyone feel welcome and encouraged to learn at their own comfort level, both in and out of the classroom. Parents are welcome to join the fun at any time. Congregation Kol Emet is my new home, and I want it to feel like yours as well, whether it is new or old. I am always available by phone, text or email to listen to a suggestion, concern or just to say hi.
Thank you for sharing your children with me!
I am so excited to be the new director of Kol Emet Preschool. I first became part of the Kol Emet family in 2002 when my twins started preschool there. During the three years that they attended Kol Emet, I was Homeroom Parent and PTO President. The following year, when Pennsbury was on strike, I came to Kol Emet to teach a pop-up kindergarten that was offered until classes started. In 2017 I was hired as the Preschool STARS Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. Slowly my nine hour a week job grew as I became an Assistant Teacher in the afternoons. Last year, I became the Assistant Director, and I am honored that I have been selected as the new Director for a school that has been an important part of my life for so many years.
Transitions are always tough. I have the difficult job of stepping into the shoes of a director, who has made KEPS thrive since its inception. As we transition into new leadership, I am committed to continuing the four core values so ingrained into our preschool community:
- Treat every child with dignity and respect.
- Use every moment in school as a teaching moment.
- Combine fun, creativity and hands-on experiences within our school.
- Constantly listen to parents and students and adapt to meet the needs of our community.
I have lived in the Delaware Valley most of my life. I grew up in Bensalem and Yardley and attended Edgewood Elementary School. I then went to Akiba Hebrew Academy in Merion for Middle School and High School. I received my BA in Psychology from the University of Rochester. I then returned to Philadelphia for graduate school and earned my PhD in Clinical Psychology from Hahnemann University. I did my Internship in Child Clinical Psychology at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester after which I worked at a school for children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. When I again returned to Philadelphia, I joined Southampton Psychiatric Associates where I specialized in Group Therapy, especially Social Skills Group Therapy with young children.
My twins, Sara and Lena, are grown up now. One is in graduate school and the other has joined the workforce. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering for my congregation, going to the theater, doing various types of crafts, playing games as well as spending time with friends and family.
The Kol Emet Preschool Mission Statement says KEPS is a place that stimulates natural curiosity and encourages the creative thinking process while fostering an awareness of the world and helping establish a positive Jewish identity. I am thrilled to be part of this process, and I look forward to meeting you and your children soon.
Ellen Malissa (interim)
Cho Salma Win
Religious School Liaison
Religious School PTO