Rabbi Alexis Berk accepted the position of Rabbi of Touro Synagogue in the summer of 2008. Although raised in rural Massachusetts, Rabbi Berk has become a southerner at heart. “I was surprised by how the softness and warmth of the South held so much immediate appeal.”
Rabbi Berk graduated with Honors from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in June of 2000. Upon ordination, Rabbi Berk was awarded two prizes for sermon oratory. Following graduation Rabbi Berk served in Nashville as Congregation Micah’s first Rabbi Educator.
In March of 2005, Rabbi Berk assumed the position of Hillel Rabbi at Vanderbilt University, but finding she missed participating in a congregational community, she left to join the clergy team at Temple Ohabai Sholom, as Director of Congregational Enrichment. When the opportunity to serve as Rabbi of her own community in New Orleans opened up, she knew it was the right city and the right time.
Rabbi Berk is honored to serve as the Rabbi of Touro Synagogue. “The complexity and texture of the New Orleans landscape illuminates the elemental beauty of the Touro community. The fact that Touro is a 180-year-old synagogue belies its strong desire for innovation and growth. The professional team and congregational leaders embody passion for this community – within the walls of the congregation and beyond. Resilience, interconnectedness, and strength are the core of this distinctive place.” Rabbi welcomes conversation about the uniqueness of this community.
In 2011 Rabbi was chosen as one of Gambit Magazine’s “40 under 40,” – forty individuals under the age of forty whose skills and accomplishments have helped make New Orleans a better place to live and work.
Rabbi Berk and her husband Bob live in Uptown New Orleans with their two teenage sons and their dog Russell. When not at the synagogue, you can find Rabbi Berk keeping company with the live oaks in Audubon Park, tending the succulents and taming the jasmine in her novice garden, enjoying a yoga class, devouring books and newspapers, or binge watching Netflix with her family.
You may contact Rabbi Berk here.
Russell the Pastoral DogRussell is a loving dog who willingly offers his amatueur pastoral services around the office. He is kind hearted and gentle, with a particular sensitivity to mourners and a particular affection for Bar and Bat Mitvah students. Although he is discouraged from coming up on the furniture, he knows that the Rabbi always caves when someone needs a cuddle. He has total faith in the goodness of humanity, which is confirmed everyday when everyone – from the mail carrier to a wedding couple – offers him a pat on the head and a rub behind his ears. He is here mostly on weekdays; he has not undergone the proper training for pulpit work.
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