Rabbi Alan Levin
The Spiritual has always been an important part of my life. I was born into a family with a strong appreciation for the values of the Jewish tradition and a long and distinguished, multi-generational history of ancestors who served as rabbis. It was during a visit to a Tibetan monastery, more than eight years ago and half a world away, that I heard the kol demamah daqqah, the still small voice that would call me to service in this current chapter of my life. My journey has led me to explore the “spiritual vitamins” of other faith traditions, as Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l called them, even as my own tradition has become the compass of my soul. I am grateful for the opportunity to have studied in a program that values the ecumenical so strongly.
A particular interest of mine has been Reb Zalman z”l’s legacy of Age-ing into Sage-ing, mining one’s life experiences for wisdom that can be passed on to others. This training has informed my approach to chaplaincy and I am pleased to have been ordained in 2022 as a vatik (Sage-ing Mentor) in this meaningful work.
I grew up in the suburbs of New York City with the best of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Judaism. My father is of Ashkenazi origin, and I inherited a keen interest in numbers from him, a gift that propelled a successful career in the secular world as well as an abiding interest in Kabbalistic gematria, the correspondence between numbers and Hebrew letters in Judaism’s mystical path. My mother is of Sephardic origin. From her, I inherited a love of Middle Eastern cuisine as well as a strong connection to Rabbinic Judaism; my maternal grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi, as were his father and grandfather.
Identity is multi-faceted, and I increasingly appreciate the richness of exploring the intersections of the various hats that I wear. I come to the rabbinate after a rewarding career in corporate finance and am passionate about how Judaism informs new insights and guidance in secular spaces like the corporate boardroom, spaces where I have an opportunity to be of service. As a gay man, I often read Torah through an alternative lens, exploring its implications for the marginalized in our society. As a mystic, I am ever in search of the experiential in our tradition.
I am particularly grateful for the love, support, and encouragement that I’ve received from my bashert John throughout these last seven years of study and preparation. I am thankful for the love and support of my parents, Marla and Erwin Levin, of my family and of my friends as I traveled this path.
I would also like to thank those who have guided and shaped my spiritual evolution over the course of my studies in the ALEPH Ordination Program, including Dean Emerita Reb Marcia Prager; Reb Leila Gal Berner, my Director of Studies; Reb Shaya Isenberg and Reb Ruth Gan Kagan, my spiritual advisors; among many others.