A little about me 

I live in Southern California and in Jerusalem, Israel. 

When I meet new people and I introduce myself as a rabbi (or, upon seeing my kippa (yalmulke), they ask me whether I am a rabbi), they often ask me:

"Where are you a rabbi?"  

(By this, people usually mean "where is your congregation?")

I smile and answer "everywhere."  In response to the puzzled look, I explain:  "I'm not a congregational rabbi.  I make my living as an attorney and expert witness specializing in workers compensation insurance premium disputes."  (To learn more about how I earn my parnasa, you can click here: www.drlevinelaw.com)

I am a rabbi "everywhere" in the sense that I have been ordained (Academy for Jewish Religion/California, 2009) as a "rabbi and teacher in Israel."  Although I do some teaching in the State of Israel, where I am a member of Conservative (Masorti) Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in downtown Jerusalem, www.moreshetyisrael.com the "Israel" in my teudat smichah (ordination certificate) refers to K'lal Yisrael -- the Jewish People, generally, whereever I may encounter them.  This website, which I call "Yerushatenu" -- Hebrew for "Our Heritage," is one of the ways in which I do so.  One of my most important goals is to help introduce the depth and beauty of Jewish tradition and values.  

"What kind of a rabbi are you?" 

 (By this, people usually mean "Are you Conservative, Reform, or what?")  

I smile and answer "Just Jewish!"  In response to the skeptical look, I explain:  I wasn't ordained at one of the "Movement" seminaries and don't define myself as a "'this or that' Movement" rabbi.  My rabbinical school, www.ajrca.org, is a WASC-accredited graduate institution formed in 2000 as an independent, transdenominational Jewish seminary.  It is located in the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center at UCLA.  

My teachers were rabbis and university academics from Orthodox, Sephardic, Conservative, Reform, and Renewal and "Just Jewish" backgrounds.  I have also studied at the Conservative Yeshiva and at the Shalom Hartman Institute, both in Jerusalem, and at the Chabad near my home.  Although American Jews are accustomed to thinking of Judaism in terms of "movements" or "streams," it's important to remember that whereas Judaism is more than 3,500 years old, the oldest American "movement" (Reform, in which I grew up) is less than 200 years old.  We are vastly greater than a single "movement" or denomination. 

According to Jewish tradition (Pirkei Avot), a wise person learns from everyone.  I don't claim to be wise, but I do find much of value in, and try to learn from, many different points in the wonderfully diverse world of Jewish history, tradition, and thought.   Whatever your background and preference, I hope that you will join me in exploring the breadth and depth of Judaism. 

Brachot (blessings),

Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.  

If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb