Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger
was born in Austria, during a period when his father worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency at the U.N. complex in Vienna. He spent his childhood in Maryland, in the Washington suburbs, before attending college at the University of Chicago, where he majored in Religion and Literature, graduating with honors. After college, he worked as a wilderness and environmental educator, leading outdoor experiences for children, teenagers, families, and Elderhostel groups.
In the early 90's, Rabbi Loevinger spent a year in Israel, on kibbutz and working for the Alexander Muss High School program. After that, he earned a Master's degree in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto, where his Master's paper synthesized environmental ethics, Jewish theology, and contemporary environmental philosophy. A chapter from his master's paper is reprinted in the anthology: "Ecology and the Jewish Spirit," edited by Ellen Bernstein, and available from Jewish Lights Publishing.
Rabbi Loevinger's master paper research led directly to further Jewish studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, where he spent three years before transferring to the new Conservative rabbinical school at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. Rabbi Loevinger was ordained in 1999 as part of the first graduating class of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies-which was also the first group of rabbis ordained on the West Coast of the United States. He graduated with academic awards in Jewish studies and a letter of distinction from the Talmud faculty.
Upon ordination, Rabbi Loevinger returned to Toronto, where he joined Kolel: the Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish learning, a non-denominational adult outreach center. Rabbi Loevinger had studied with Kolel and its founder, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, during his earlier years in Toronto, and Rabbi Goldstein had the honor of presenting him for ordination before bringing him to Kolel as the Director of Outreach, responsible for teaching, outreach programs, and content for Kolel's website, much of which is still available. After two years in Toronto, Rabbi Loevinger assumed the pulpit of Temple Israel, in Swampscott, MA, where he guided the congregation through a period of transformation and growth leading to the formation of a new synagogue, Congregation Shirat Hayam.
After the new congregation was formed, Rabbi Loevinger became a Chaplain Resident at the Miriam Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, where he worked with other residents in clinical pastoral education (CPE) to provide interfaith spiritual care in the setting of a multicultural, urban hospital.
In Massachusetts, Rabbi Loevinger served on the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee of the North Shore Medical Center and as Jewish chaplain for the Essex County Correctional Facility. He has served on the Board of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the Board of Basherte, an organization which provides spiritual retreats for Jewish singles. Rabbi Loevinger is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, the New York Board of Rabbis and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains.
Since ordination, Rabbi Loevinger has earned a Graduate Certificate in Management of Community Organizations from Tufts University and studied theology at Harvard. He loves riding his bicycle, hiking, cooking, bluegrass music, and bourbon that is old enough for a bar mitzvah. He writes an electronic Torah commentary
every week that you can subscribe to by using the Yahoo Groups facility.