Rabbi Lea Mühlstein joined NPLS July 2013. A graduate of Leo Baeck College she gained experience at a number of Progressive Synagogues including The Liberal Synagogue Elstree, Menorah Synagogue Manchester, Finchley Progressive Synagogue and West London Synagogue.
In addition to regular rabbinic duties, Rabbi Lea currently leads our education provisions, overseeing our cheder (religion school) as well as adult learning programmes. Rabbi Lea is also responsible for coordinating the social action initiatives of NPLS, an area of particular interest for her. Having worked for two months at the Religious Action Center in Washington D.C., Rabbi Lea witnessed how great a contribution the Jewish community can make to the wider society and how social action work can, in turn, enrich and revitalise Jewish life. In her previous pulpit at West London Synagogue, she helped expand the synagogue’s social action programmes, such as the asylum seeker drop-in centre and tea parties for elderly members. She continues this work by representing NPLS in our local broad-based community organizing alliance, Harrow Citizens, and as a member of the leadership team of North London Citizens. In addition to providing opportunities for social action work, these networks also form a strong base for interfaith dialogue, which is another area of interest for Rabbi Lea. She is a long-standing member of the team that organises an annual Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue conference (www.jcmconference.org). Rabbi Lea is the co-editor of the new liturgy for Liberal Judaism UK alongside Rabbi Eli Tikvah-Sarah. The first draft of the Shabbat morning liturgy of Siddur Shirah Chadashah is currently being used on a trial basis in Liberal congregations across the country.
Rabbi Lea is a passionate Zionist. She is currently the Chair of Arzenu Olami, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists. As chair of Arzenu, Lea works to represent the interests of ARZENU’s constituent groups in 14 countries around the world, as well Progressive Jews more generally, within the governing bodies of the Israel’s National Institutions (the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and Keren Hayesod). She is currently the only member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency under the age of 40. She is a strong supporter of World Jewry and has served as a board member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and as the assistant treasurer of the European Union for Progressive Judaism.
Rabbi Lea was born and raised in Germany in a Jewish family deeply committed to Progressive Judaism and enlightenment values. At age 16, she moved to Manchester, where she completed her A-levels, and then went on to study for a BA and MSci in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. After graduation, she worked in science publishing and then as a research chemist at Munich University before deciding on a career change to the rabbinate. In her spare time, Rabbi Lea enjoys spending time outdoors and rarely misses an opportunity to go on a nice hike. Due to the English weather, she was forced to also develop some indoor interests, which include cooking, reading and board games. She lives in Hatch End with her husband Josh.