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About Reb Laura

 

 

 Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan grew up in Kew Gardens, New York, with Conservadox Judaism as her natural habitat.  Her love of Judaism was nurtured by her late parents Ruth and Bernard Duhan, the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Congregation Adath Yeshurun, and Camp Massad of the Poconos.

 

At Stuyvesant High School of Math and Science, Laura was introduced to the study of philosophy.  She went on to earn a B.A. in Philosophy at Brandeis University, an M.Ed. in Adult Education at Cambridge College, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Education at Claremont Graduate University.  Along the way, she also studied dance, painting, writing, and music, completed a two-year training program in Ayurvedic Yoga, and served as a Hillel Program Director.

 

For fifteen years, Laura served as a professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  For seven of those years, she served as Coordinator of Women’s Studies, for three she served as Chair of the Philosophy Department, and for five she taught in the Judaic Studies Program.  She earned many awards for her scholarship, teaching, and service, including the prestigious U.S. Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  She is now Professor Emerita of Philosophy at UNC Charlotte.

 

In 1991, Laura married Charles Kaplan, psychologist and musician.  Together they have raised two children, Hillary and Eli.  In order to create a natural Jewish habitat for their own children, they became active in the creative, lay-led, Reconstructionist affiliated Havurat Tikvah. When Havurat Tikvah led them to the Jewish Renewal movement created by Reb Zalman, they immediately felt as though they had come home. Since then, Laura has served on the international Board of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and as a faculty member for the ALEPH Ordination Programs.

 

In 2005, Laura received Smicha (rabbinic ordination) from the ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and began working as Rabbi of Or Shalom Synagogue, where she is involved in ritual, education, pastoral care, and administration.

 

Since arriving in Vancouver, Laura’s education and teaching have continued. In 2010, she completed a Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction at the Vancouver School of Theology. She has taught at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver School of Theology, the Florence Melton Adult Jewish Studies Program, and Naramata Centre. 

 

Visit her blog and website, www.onsophiastreet.com, to learn more about her thoughts on Torah, as well as her love of animals, family, philosophy, and spirituality.


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