Rabbi Leila Gal Berner was Kol Ami’s founding rabbi and is now Rabbi Emerita. She helped birth us, midwifed us and stood by us as we grew from an idea into a congregation. Rabbi Leila Gal Berner was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and received private ordination from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l. She received a doctorate in medieval Jewish History from UCLA and her Bachelor’s Degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she lived for ten years. She is a citizen of both Israel and the United States. Rabbi Leila has taught at some of our country’s leading universities and colleges: Reed and Swarthmore colleges, Emory, George Washington and American universities. At American University, she served for over a decade as Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Rabbi Leila also serves as Dean of Students of the Aleph (Alliance for Jewish Renewal) Ordination Program where she teaches rabbinical and cantorial students how to passionately, creatively and lovingly lead the Jewish people into the future. Rabbi Leila has pioneered a new approach to integrating Torah’s wisdom through “Contemplative Torah,” which she has incorporated into a book entitled, Listening with the Ears of the Heart: A Contemplative Approach to the Book of Genesis. Rabbi Leila lives in Maryland with her wife, Franna Ruddell.