fbpx Rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman, M.A. | Chestnut Hill College Skip to content Skip to navigation

Rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman, M.A.

Rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman, M.A.

Linda Joy Holtzman
Commencement Speaker, SGS Ceremony
Recipient, Honorary Degree of Laws

Linda Holtzman is the rabbi of the Tikkun Olam Chavurah, a community that pursues social justice, and is the Director of Student Life of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. A native Philadelphian who was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1979, Rabbi Holtzman has received a B.A. and M.A. in English from Temple University and a B.H.L. from Gratz College. She has served as the rabbi of Beth Israel, a Conservative 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 as part-time rabbi of Beth Ahavah, the LGTBQ synagogue in Philadelphia. Holtzman is the former rabbi of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, where she had previously served as interim rabbi, director of the religious school, and for many years as Associate Professor and Director of Practical Rabbinics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

As Director of Student Life at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), 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.

A leading social justice activist, Holtzman is the founder and organizer of the Reconstructionist Chevra Kadisha of Philadelphia. She has served on the board of Philadelphia’s New Sanctuary Movement, which works to end injustices against immigrants regardless of their immigration status, and has served on the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace. She is a founding member of POWER, an interfaith organization committed to building communities of opportunity that work for all.

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).

She is currently on the Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs in Philadelphia and on the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.