Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz
(She, her, hers)
Marilyn G. and Joseph B. Schwartz Israel Fellow
Office: (212) 877-4050, ext. 225
Rabbi Tracy J. Kaplowitz, Ph.D., is our inaugural Marilyn G. and Joseph B. Schwartz Israel Fellow. She came to Stephen Wise from JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, which ensures the quality of Jewish life for Jews in the U.S. military and the Veterans Administration. An experienced spiritual leader and educator, Rabbi Kaplowitz served as a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and on the professional staff of both the Schechter School of Long Island and the Jewish Education Project. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and earned her doctorate in the sociology of education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rabbi Kaplowitz is a member of both the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Rabbinical Assembly.
“You can tell when a holiday is important based on the build up to it,” says Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz, discussing the purification rituals traditionally performed on this Sabbath of the Cow. “As we begin our preparations for Passover, I pray that in Israel they are preparing as well and using the lessons of the red heifer — and 75 years of precedent — to guide them.”
The Jewish Peoplehood Perspective
In this week’s parashah, Jacob and Joseph leave the next generation “a roadmap for the establishment of the Jewish people,” says Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz. “We learn that at no point in our long history were the Israelites homogenous.” Our diversity is a point of pride, she says, and our peoplehood a source of power.
Pundits, Prophets and Peoplehood
Israel went to the polls this week, and it’s very possible the new government will include ministers “who preach intolerance and hatred,” says Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz. But no matter how we feel about the results, we don’t receive permission to abandon Israel. “If we don’t believe our bond is unbreakable, we risk forgoing our part in the continuity of our people.”
Diaspora-Israel Relations on Tisha b’Av
“The Second Temple’s destruction also marked the end of over 600 years of positive diaspora-Israel relations,” says Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz on the Shabbat before Tisha b’Av. “It is important that we take this moment to reflect on our engagement with Israel because with rising antisemitism, the Jewish whisper has returned.”