Lauren Holtzblatt

Adas Israel Congregation | Washington, DC | 38 years old

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt is one of the most important and inspiring reasons why Adas Israel has evolved in so many positive, meaningful ways over the past several years. As the staff person for the Jewish Mindfulness Center, she has led developing and integrating what used to be “alternative” ways to access Judaism and spirituality — meditation, Jewish yoga, chanting, mindful prayer. Her Return Again musical Shabbat services encourage and inspire (there’s that word again) 200 to 300 Jews of all ages to attend monthly Friday night services, to share spirited singing, words of wisdom and openhearted prayer. She started and leads the Kol Nidre outdoor Return Again service, attended by over 1,000 people, plus many other smaller initiatives such as weekly Torah study and a Morning Awakening service. But Rabbi Lauren isn’t just about doing. She is also very much about being. She is so able to access and share her knowledge of Jewish and secular life and thought — in one-on-one discussions, committee meetings and services for hundreds people. Rabbi Lauren’s deep wisdom and loving compassion, so far beyond her years, continue to inspire and connect so many of us to our community and our Judaism.

— Susan Barocas

+ 10 other nominations

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