Rabbi Linda Joseph
Passions: I love God, the Jewish people and Jewish traditions, creativity and texts. I enjoy teaching, prayer, community and connection, storytelling, making art, listening to music, writing, reading and cooking. I feel blessed each day in my partnership with my husband Richard Landis, a retired lawyer, and when I get to play with my dog Ben Bag Bag and my cat Khazar.
A Short Biography
I was born in Melbourne, Australia. My mother is of Egyptian/English heritage and my father comes from a family that has lived six generations in Australia. My family affiliated with the Progressive (Reform) Movement of Judaism, which took firm root in Australia with the immigrants from Europe prior to, and after, World War II.
My family were very involved in Temple life – Dad was president of our Temple, the Leo Baeck Center for Progressive Judaism, my mother chair of The Guild (a Sisterhood/Brotherhood hybrid), and later, my mother became the Temple Administrator for another temple, which was the largest Progressive synagogue in Australia, Temple Beth Israel. My brother Simon and I were involved in the youth group of the local temples. I was among the group of teenagers that imagined turning our youth group into a youth movement, called Netzer, which eventually became part of Netzer Olami (now the roof body of NFTY).
Some say I was “discovered” by a professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion who recognized the wide ranging Jewish community work I had undertaken – from working in major Jewish organizations, counseling, founding study groups and Chavurot, leading services and teaching – and he convinced me to apply to rabbinic school.
My ordination is from HUC-JIR in Cincinnati in 1994 and I continued my studies in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles where I graduated with another Masters Degree in 1995. I served student pulpits in DeKalb IL and Bristol TN, and led alternative High Holy Day services at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco CA, and served as an educational intern at Temple Ahavath Shalom in Northridge CA.
Since ordination, as a World Union for Progressive Judaism sponsored student, I had the privilege to fulfill my obligation to world jewry as a rabbi at (what is now known as) Etz Chayim Progressive Synagogue, and for the Progressive Judaism of Victoria in my country of birth, Australia.
Back in the United States, I returned to the small community of the Jewish Congregation of Kinnelon in NJ, and then became the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton FL. Following my time in congregations, I went to work in the Southeast Regional Office of the Union for Reform Judaism as the Senior Assistant Regional Director and then Regional Director in the Southeast United States. After the restructure of the URJ, I served as a Lay Leader Liaison with the URJ leadership, but ultimately decided to re-enter congregational life.
Over the last few years I spent five years as a solo rabbi at Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation in Ashburn VA and one year as Interim Rabbi at Tree of Life Congregation in Columbia, SC.
My current spiritual home is at Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills MD just outside of Baltimore. I have been Rabbi here since 2016 and love being part of this 176 year old community with its history, traditions and desire to be a Reform Jewish congregation of the future.
It has been an amazing and wonderful spiritual journey. With these musings and writings: “Out of the Rabbi’s Mind” I am able to share some of that journey with you.