JCC Association of North America is excited to announce that this month, Rabbi Tracy J. Kaplowitz, Ph.D., will begin as the new director of operations of the agency’s signature program, JWB Jewish Chaplains Council (JWB). Kaplowitz brings to the role close to 15 years of experience as a spiritual leader and educator in the Jewish community and in the U.S. Armed Forces, including as former chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
Kaplowitz will lead the network of more than 70 Jewish chaplains around the world that JWB endorses, trains and supports and who, in turn, provide support and spiritual guidance to Jewish service members and veterans, as well as to those of other faiths. She will also oversee the expansion and integration of JWB’s work into the JCC Movement, bringing active and retired service personnel into local JCCs and JCC camps to strengthen related programming and help build bridges between civilian and military communities.
“Tracy brings a remarkable breadth of Jewish learning and commitment to this position,” said Sue Gelsey, herself recently arrived as chief program officer at JCC Association as part of an expansion focused on program innovation. “Tracy has both the military and rabbinic background to work with the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, and to help connect them to our JCCs, and in turn, our JCCs to them.”
Kaplowitz, who attained the rank of captain during her time in the Air Force, worked with cadets upon their arrival at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and throughout their first stages of basic training. She has brought together the Jewish civilian community of Dover, Delaware, with the Jewish military community there, and has experience as a congregational rabbi. She comes to JCC Association from the Schechter School of Long Island, where she oversaw strategic initiatives and admissions and served as a middle school teacher for eight years. Previously, she served as the rabbinic liaison to Long Island and the Israel Engagement project manager for the Jewish Education Project, where she developed a consultancy to build family engagement in both congregations and in JCCs.
She has received a number of honors and recognitions throughout her career including, in 2006 and 2010, the Global War on Terrorism and National Defense Medal, a United States Armed Forces award that recognizes those military service members who have supported operations to counter-terrorism from September 11, 2001, to date.
Kaplowitz was ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in 2004 and holds a doctorate in the sociology of education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She earned her master’s degree in Jewish education from JTS, and a bachelor’s in Jewish history from the List College of JTS and Barnard College. Kaplowitz lives in Huntington, New York with her husband, Dr. Jonathan Boxer, and their three children, Jordana, Jacob and Talia.
Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz will join JCC Association on August 1, 2019.