Rev. Liddy Barlow and Rabbi Ron Symons: Working Together in Pittsburgh and Beyond


The Thought Experiment Podcast: An exploration of fresh ideas and active minds in the world of Jewish Education.

Part of our inaugural 3-part series featuring speakers from our Jewish Futures Conference.

Liddy Barlow

The Rev. Liddy Barlow became the first woman to be installed as Executive Minister of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania in April 2014. Christian Associates brings together 28 Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant church bodies in greater Pittsburgh to make visible the unity of the church and work for the wholeness of communities. As Executive Minister, Rev. Barlow leads the organization's projects and relationships, including its robust interfaith partnership with the JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness. A New Hampshire native, she is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College and Andover Newton Theological School and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Rev. Barlow and her husband Gregory, a robotics entrepreneur, have two children: Pippa, age nine, and Edmund, six.

Ron Symons

Rabbi Ron Symons serves as the Sr. Director of Jewish Life of the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Loving Kindness. Founded in 2017, the Center is designed to redefine ‘neighbor’ as a moral term while amplifying the long-held values of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds’. Essential to this work is Ron’s partnership with Rev. Liddy Barlow of Christian Associates of Southwest PA as they network hundreds of spiritual leaders through conversation, learning, and relationship. Ron was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (NY ’94) and has studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbis Barbara and Ron are the proud parents of three emerging Jewish professionals poised to transform Jewish life for their generation.

These are a few of the articles, inter-faith statements, and emails from the work that Reverend Barlow and Rabbi Symons are doing.

  • A Declaration of Religious Leaders | 8.28.17

    Signed by more than 200 faith leaders, an example of how far-reaching and inclusive their early work was before there was a reason (the tragedy at Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha) or a need to come together.
  • Faithful Conversations on Gun Violence | 3.19.18

    Five weeks after a gunman murdered 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., 150 progressive faith leaders and politicians gathered at the Pittsburgh JCC for a two and a half hour interfaith forum focused not just on mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Fla., but on neighborhoods where gun violence is a daily occurrence.”
  • Clergy Shows Solidarity with Jewish Community at 'We Have To Talk' Event

    “About 150 local leaders of different faiths and denominations gathered at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill on Thursday morning to talk about next steps following the Oct. 27 synagogue massacre less than a mile away. The session was titled, ‘We Have to Talk.’ It served as both a show of solidarity with the Jewish community and a wider call to action against a spreading intolerance of other religious, racial and ethnic minorities.”



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