New LBC Rabbi ordained

Photo of Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová

Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová (photo: Zoe Norfolk)

Leo Baeck College (LBC) ordained a new rabbi in a service held at Westminster Synagogue on Monday 4 September 2023. More than 160 people attended in person with a further 100 watching live on Zoom.

The rabbi ordained was Dr Kamila Kopřivová. Kamila was born in the Czech Republic. Before completing her rabbinic training at Leo Baeck College, she studied at Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Potsdam, Germany and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Her PhD thesis, in Jewish studies and Theology, focused on the Maharal of Prague and the way he reads Jewish mystical work. As much as she enjoys reading classical Jewish literature, she finds even more joy in community work.

Following her ordination, Kamila is proud to serve as Assistant Rabbi at Westminster Synagogue.

Addressing Kamila, Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, LBC Principal, said:
“Chazak v’ematz, be strong and courageous. Of course, you already are. When I first met you some 15 months ago, you already embodied these qualities. In your moves from Prague to Potsdam to Jerusalem and in your then aspiration to move again to London, you had already faced numerous challenges, requiring inner strength, determination, and bravery of spirit.”

Photo of Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová with Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris and Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh

Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová with Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris and Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh

“I trust that both the Leo Baeck College and Westminster Synagogue, where you have been a trainee and where you will serve more permanently from today as a rabbi, have been these places of security for you.”

Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová said “I feel honoured that I was able to receive my rabbinic ordination from Leo Baeck College. I am also deeply grateful to Westminster Synagogue and its community for supporting me on my journey. I cannot wait to start the next chapter of my life as their rabbi. I feel very blessed.”

Rabbi Benji Stanley of Westminster Synagogue led the service. Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová was ordained by both Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Principal of Leo Baeck College and Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, Dean of Leo Baeck College. The ‘double ordination’ by two rather than one rabbi is a first for the College. The Ordination certificate was presented by LBC Chair of Governors Mimi Konigsberg. Ruth Seager and Paul Langsford, chairs of Liberal Judaism and the Movement for Reform Judaism respectively opened the ark.

Those in attendance included Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon, Emeritus Rabbi of Westminster Synagogue, and Deputy Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Tony Vourou.

Leo Baeck College is the UK’s only Progressive Jewish rabbinic seminary, training rabbis for Liberal, Masorti and Reform congregations in the UK and abroad. Its five-year rabbinic postgraduate programme is known for its depth and intensity.