Laura Duhan Kaplan

Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan Kaplan holds a B.A. Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis University (1980), a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Education from Claremont Graduate University (1991), Rabbinic Ordination from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal seminary (2005), and a Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction from the Vancouver School of Theology (2010). While Jewish by formation, practice, and ethnicity, Laura’s eclectic education introduced her to multiple spiritual paths, including Western philosophy, Jewish rabbinics, Christian spiritual direction, Jungian psychology, and Ayurvedic yoga.

During her fifteen-year tenure as Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she also coordinated the university’s Women’s Studies program for seven years. Her books include Philosophy and Everyday Life, Family Pictures: A Philosopher Explores the Familiar, and two co-edited volumes on the Philosophy of Peace. For her innovative work helping students use philosophy to explore their life narratives, she received five teaching awards, including the Carnegie Foundation’s U.S. Professor of the Year award and an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree from Niagara University.

Laura served as Rabbi at Or Shalom Synagogue in Vancouver for ten years starting in 2005, and has also been a core faculty member at ALEPH seminary since 2005. She has served as co-chair of the Canadian Jewish Congress Jewish-Christian dialogue, led weeklong summer workshops at the United Church’s Naramata Centre, and teaches regularly at multi-faith gatherings. She is a fellow at Rabbis Without Borders, a progressive, pluralistic U.S.-based Jewish think tank. Laura has written extensively on animals in the Hebrew Bible and is currently co-editing a scholarly anthology on multi-faith interaction called Encountering the Other. She blogs at

Rabbi Laura enjoys the challenge of teaching at the margins between disciplines and religious traditions, where the creative tension invites her to grow in knowledge and empathy. She believes our heart commitments deepen through intellectual examination, and our intellects come to greater life when feelings illuminate ideas. In her present role as Professor of Inter-Religious Studies at Vancouver School of Theology, she shares with her students an ecumenical adventure, crossing denominational and faith languages to discuss multiple perspectives on God, social change, and spiritual community. In this capacity also, Laura will be deeply engaged with the ISC’s Salish Sea Bioregional Gathering; Interspiritual Contributions to Social and Ecological Sustainability, October 20th-22nd, 2017, co-sponsored by Vancouver School of Theology.