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Rabbi Lynne Landsberg - Biography

 Lynne Landsberg Headshot

Rabbi Lynne F. Landsberg is the recently retired Senior Advisor, Disability Rights at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC.  Rabbi Landsberg co-founded and co-chaired the Jewish Disability Network—a coalition of national Jewish movements and organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities.  She also served on the Steering Committee of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition--a coalition of representatives from national denominations and faith groups (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and more).

Rabbi Landsberg founded and co-chaired the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ (CCAR) Committee on Disability Awareness and Inclusion.  She co-founded and co-chaired Hineinu:  Jewish Community for People of All Abilities.  Hineinu is an historic and innovative collaboration of the Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Movements as well as Chabad. Disability professionals from each stream share resources, support and direction in order to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in synagogues and the Jewish community at large.

Rabbi Landsberg is a survivor of a Traumatic Brain Injury, the result of an auto accident in January 1999.  She has spoken across the country at synagogues, churches and interfaith programs and secular events advocating for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to ensure all have equal access to religious and civic life.

Rabbi Landsberg was Associate Director of the Religious Action Center, Reform Judaism’s social justice center in Washington, DC (1988-96) and then Regional Director for the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mid Atlantic Region (July 1, 1996-January 10, 1999). 

She received her Masters of Theological Studies (MTS-1976) from Harvard Divinity School. She is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained in 1981.

Rabbi Landsberg has served as associate rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City (1981-84) and then as rabbi of Temple House of Israel in Staunton, Virginia and Congregation Beth El in Harrisonburg, Virginia until coming to Washington, DC. 

Coming to the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1988, she assumed leadership roles in inter-religious affairs and in Black-Jewish relations.  She served as the vice-chair for the Interfaith Coalition on Justice and Peace, a coalition of national religious bodies influencing public policy.  She served on the board of directors and had been the national spokesperson for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an inter-religious organization dedicated to safeguarding the constitutional guarantee for reproductive freedom. 

Rabbi Landsberg was Director of the UAHC Commission on Inter-religious Affairs. She served on the board of directors of the U.S. Inter-religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East. She traveled with the Committee’s leadership to the capitals of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Israel.

Rabbi Landsberg is the 2009 recipient of the Rabbi Martin Katzenstein Award given by the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) Alumni/ae Association to an HDS graduate who “exhibits a passionate and helpful interest in the lives of other people, an informed and realistic faithfulness, an embodiment of the idea that love is not so much a feeling as a way of acting, and a reliable sense of humor." She is the 2012 recipient of the Jewish Foundation of Group Homes S. Robert Cohen award.  Rabbi Landsberg is the 2015 inaugural recipient of the Thornburgh Family Award from the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition, a program of the American Association of People with Disabilities.  The Thornburgh Family Award recognizes a religious leader who exemplifies the spirit of the ADA as demonstrated by former US Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former AAPD Interfaith Program Director Ginny Thornburgh and their efforts to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. 

She is featured in Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability and Inclusion by Mark I. Pinsky as well as Managing Brain Injury:  A Guide to Living Well with Brain Injury edited by Michael Yochelson, M.D. and Penny Wolfe, Ph.D.  She co-authored with Shelly Christensen, “Judaism and Disability: R’fuat Hanefesh—The Healing of Our Souls, Individual and Communal,” in Judaism and Health—A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly Resources (Jewish Lights). 

Rabbi Landsberg and her husband, Dennis Ward, have one son, Jesse L. Ward.