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Rabbi Leigh describes himself as "committed to finding creative ways to engage Jews of all ages and backgrounds, and to creating welcoming, caring communities with intellectual honesty and spiritual depth."
Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh is a native New Yorker who loves mountains. His rabbinate is characterized by creativity, inclusivity, and a commitment to diversity. A life-long "truth-seeker," Rabbi Leigh is also a passionate snowboarder and fire-juggler, who toured as a leading actor with the Tony award-winning National Theater of the Deaf (NTD), and has appeared on stage with rock bands Jane's Addiction and Twisted Sister. He and his wife, Randi, are the proud parents of three daughters, Rayna, Ariza and Sivan.
“I knew I wanted to become a rabbi. I wanted to sing and dance and pray, to engage people in this search for truth. But I pushed the thought away. A deaf rabbi?”
Leigh received his bachelor of arts in religion from the University of Rochester where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, Leigh also spent a year at Gallaudet University where he received the President's Scholar Award. After touring with NTD and serving as a social worker and counselor at the New York Society for the Deaf in NYC, Leigh went on to earn a master of arts in religion from Columbia University. He then went on to receive his rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Rabbi Leigh was honored to be featured in the recently televised ABC and NBC Emmy-nominated documentary, A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities. Leigh also served as a consultant for the Oscar-nominated documentary film Sound and Fury and for "Hands On," an organization that provides sign-language interpreting services for Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Rabbi Leigh has also been a speaker for the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, and other organizations where he has taught on issues related to deafness and disability access.
Rabbi Leigh was selected to be one of the first fellows of "RabbisWithout Borders," an initiative of CLAL (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.) Rabbi Leigh has also served LGBTQ Jews, their friends and families in NYC, where he spent two years as a rabbinical intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.
A faculty member at the Academy for Jewish Religion and, most recently, the Associate/Sabbatical Rabbi at B’nai Keshet in Montclair NJ, Rabbi Leigh also served as a rabbi of The New Shul in NYC. He has served as the student rabbi of Or HaNeshamah in Ottawa, Canada and as a rabbinic educator with Hillel at Temple and Drexel Universities in Philadelphia.
Rabbi Darby was featured in a broadcast documentary called "A Place for All." Below are clips of that documentary when he was serving as Asst. Rabbi at Bnai Keshet.
An overview of "A Place for All": http://www.divacommunications.com/programs/documentaries/a-place-for-all/
Dean Tamar Kamionkowski confers the title of Rabbi on Darby Leigh with his graduating class from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College: : http://www.rrc.edu/admissions/spotlight-rabbi-darby-leigh
Rabbi Darby teaches the Shema in ASL and explains the choices he has made about how to sign this ancient prayer in a more contemporary and inclusive manner: https://www.ritualwell.org/ritual/shema-prayer-american-sign-language-and-hebrew
More articles about Rabbi Darby:
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