About Laura

LAURA DUHAN-KAPLAN

Laura Duhan-Kaplan laughing in front of a slide that says "Religious Pluralism, Indigenous Studies Program, Vancouver School of Theology"

I’m Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan, a scholar and spiritual teacher living in Vancouver, Canada, on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. My work is spiritual, religious, and sometimes political.

Education: I've studied western philosophy (B.A., M.A. Ph.D.), education (M.Ed., Ph.D.), rabbinics (ordination), spiritual direction (Grad.Dip.), Ayurvedic yoga (professional certificate), and depth psychology (9 grad courses).

Employment: At work, I am Director of Inter-Religious Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology. I am also Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue and Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Women's Studies at UNC Charlotte.

Spiritual Direction: I hold a Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction from the Vancouver School of Theology (2010). To that practice, I also bring ten years of pastoral care experience (2005-2014).

Books: As an author, I've recently written Shechinah, Bring Me Home! Kabbalah and the Omer in Real Life (Cascade, 2022),  Mouth of the Donkey: Re-imagining Biblical Animals (Cascade, 2021) and The Infinity Inside: Jewish Spiritual Practice Through a Multi-Faith Lens (Albion-Andalus, 2019).

Collaborative Books: I also co-edit Religious Pluralism and Public Life, a scholarly book series, for Wipf and Stock Publishers. With my colleagues, I've recently co-edited Visions of the End-Times: Revelations of Hope and Challenge (Wipf and Stock, 2022), Spirit of Reconciliation (Canadian Race Relations Foundation, 2020) and Encountering the Other (Wipf & Stock, 2020).

Conferences: Each May, I coordinate an inter-religious studies conference, bringing together scholars and community members of multiple faith traditions to discuss urgent issues of shared concern. Conference topics have included violence, medical assistance in dying, pluralism, activism, climate change. Currently, my VST colleagues and I are preparing for the 8th annual conference on "Making Meaning in a Time of Media Polarization." 

Teaching Awards: I love teaching and I have received many teaching awards. I'm especially delighted that I recently received the American Academy of Religion's Katie Geneva Cannon Excellence in Teaching Award (2022). Before that, I received the American Association of Philosophy Teachers award (2004), was named a U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (2001), and recognized with campus and state teaching awards (2000).

Relaxation: When I'm not at work or exploring spiritual practice, I'm usually volunteering at a synagogue or interfaith initiative; hiking, singing, or leading prayer services with my spouse; laughing with my young adult children; hanging out with my companion animals; or simply doing household work. 

Links: Read my academic essays on a variety of topics at my ACADEMIA.EDU page.

Visit my VST FACULTY PAGE, to see my c.v. and teaching philosophy.   

Learn more about VST'S INTER-RELIGIOUS STUDIES program at our page.

And feel free to contact me here.

ldk at hanukah
Photo of a smiling woman holding a scowling cat, illustrating an essay about personal spiritual symbols
Laura Duhan Kaplan at the 2017 Walk for Reconciliation, photo courtesy of Charles Kaplan
mountaintop ldk and ek
LDK & CK at Kallah