Congregation Etz Chaim first opened our doors in Miami in 1974, so that gay and lesbian Jews could find a safe and nurturing place of worship and community. Now located in Wilton Manors, Etz Chaim has been the spiritual home for generations of people in the decades since our founding. We continue to be a community that proudly welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual singles, couples, and families.
Rabbi Noah Kitty
Our Congregation's extraordinary history heralds our continuing impact in the future. My mission is to pilot us in the direction that honors our unique LGBTQ traditions while growing our connections with the worldwide community of Israel.
Rabbi Noah Kitty has been involved with Etz Chaim since 2007. After two years as a volunteer leading services and programming, she was asked to serve as Executive Director and Rabbi in 2009.
Rabbi Noah graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1994 and spent the next seven years with Congregation Shir Heharim, the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community.
Rabbi Kitty received an Honorary Doctorate in 2019 from RRC in recognition of her service and accomplishments in the Rabbinate. She also holds recent certifications in Non-Profit Organization Management from the Jim Moran Institute at FSU (2018), and in Synagogue Leadership from Spertus Institute/Chicago (2019).
Rabbi Noah's other involvements include Broward Jewish Federation was President of the Dolphin Democrats from 2015-17. The Dolphins are the largest LGBTA Democratic club in Broward County. In 2014 SFGN (South Florida Gay News) identified her as one of 50 prominent individuals in the community for her accomplishments and contributions. In 2015 she was identified by The Agenda as one of the Top 100 LGBT Movers and Shakers in Florida. In recognition of her contributions to the city, Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick declared Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Rabbi Noah Kitty Day in conjunction with Women’s History Month. She received a second proclamation from the City of Wilton Manors in 2019 celebrating her 10 year tenure as Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim.
Hazzan Jerry Berkowitz
Jerry Berkowitz has been serving the Jewish Community with his voice and music since he was 8 years old and learned to read Torah at The Ramaz School, the Orthodox Yeshiva in Manhattan. Since 1976 Jerry has been leading services, reading Torah, Haftorah and all the Megilot, teaching Cantillation and Bar-Mitzvah lessons and generally giving support to at least three congregations and Jewish organizations at any given point in time. He has been Hazzan at Congregation Etz Chaim since 2009, and is a much appreciated member of the Congregation Etz Chaim family. If you ever need a sweet pick-me-up after a tough week, stop by Etz Chaim Friday Nights at 8pm. Jerry promises a great evening of music, song and prayer.
Board of Directors
Congregation Etz Chaim is led by an incredible Board of Directors. We are currently in transition of adding new members and getting everyone settled into their roles on the Board. We will update a current list of board Members shortly!