Congregation Temple Beth'El
Debra Bowen is a native of Philadelphia, PA. She is the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Temple Beth’El, an eclectic synagogue whose membership is majority African American. She is the daughter of the late Rabbi Louise Elizabeth Dailey who was a brilliant teacher of Torah and the spiritual leader of the Congregation for 50 years. As the Senior Rabbi of CTB for the last 22 years, Debra brings to the position her love of Torah, and a commitment to conveying Jewish values to her constituents.
CTB is a vibrant community comprised of many young professional couples who are dedicated to Torah and who love their synagogue. As such, Rabbi Bowen places great emphasis on outreach to the growing population of youth in her community, developing programming and services that helps to reinforce their love for their Jewish heritage.
In performing this role, Rabbi Bowen finds herself as counselor, teacher, motivator, and most of all as innovator. She follows in her mother’s, z”l* footsteps in always seeking to simplify complex halachic matters that might evolve as her constituents embark on their spiritual journey.
Rabbi Bowen has an undergraduate degree in Accounting and has had more than 30 years of business experience prior to becoming rabbi of CTB. She has worked in both Government and Private Industry business entities. This knowledge has helped her as she assists in maintaining the financial balance of the synagogue.
Under her leadership, CTB has forged alliances with varying Jewish Organizations such as The Jewish Federation, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Friends of Israeli Defense Force (FIDF), Jewish National Fund (JNF), and most recently the Friends of Israeli Disabled Veterans (FIDV).
Rabbi Bowen is a member of the Board of Trustees of Jewish Federation of PA, member of the Bi-partisam PA Black-Jewish Alliance- Involved in the formation of Black-Jewish Relationships and Executive director of the Phenomenal Israelite Women’s Conference
LEAP - Clal 2021 Fellow LEAP (Leverage, Expand, And Popularize) is a highly selective fellowship program run in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies; the initiative was founded and continues to be directed by Clal’s (Center for Learning And Leadership) President, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield.
FIDV 2023 Beit Halochem Awardee – Charitable organization for disabled IDF veterans
Rabbi Bowen is married to Dr. Earl Bowen, Jr. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Director of Counseling at Cheyney University. They live quietly in the sprawling hills of Central Bucks County, PA.
Rabbi Earl Bowen, Jr., Ph.D
Earl Bowen Jr. received his Ph.D. in the School of Human Service Professions from Widener University and MSW from the School of Social Administration at Temple University. He currently works as a Behavioral Therapist in the Office of Student Affairs at Lincoln University and previously as Lecturer at Bryn Mawr College in the Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research. In 2018 he worked at Gratz College as Instructor of the course, Historical Origins and Developmental Patterns of African American Jewry, In January 2016, he was appointed as an Affiliate Professor at the University of Haifa. Dr. Bowen’s research background focus addresses the psychosocial implications of prostate cancer among African American men.
In January 2015, his work on prostate cancer survivorship among this population was published in The Journal of Research and Development and subsequently in the International Journal of Neurorehabilitation. He is a former member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Prostate Cancer Academy, and current member of the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium’s prostate cancer initiative in Philadelphia. He served as a member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition from 2014-2018. From 2015 -2018 was a program consultant in a Philadelphia neighborhood based intervention project to reduce prostate cancer disparities in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson’s Medical Oncology Division. His research findings on community-based approaches that address prostate cancer health disparities, health care access, and the influence of culture on health behaviors have been presented at the 2018 Science of Global Prostate Cancer Disparities in Black Men Conference at the University of Llorin in Llorin, Nigeria and the National Association of Social Work Oncologists annual meeting in San Diego, California.
He is actively involved in programmatic activities sponsored by the Philadelphia branch of the American Jewish Committee and literary contributor to Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Based on the recommendation of the Credentialing Committee Dr. Bowen received ordination as an Associate Rabbi at Congregation Temple Beth El on April 25, 2011, corresponding to the Twenty-first of Abib, 5771. He is co-founder of the Israelite Men’s Association and serves as president of Congregation Temple Beth EL’s the board of directors. Dr. Bowen is married to Rabbi Debra Bowen. They are the proud parents of 5 sons and 10 grandchildren.
Rabbi Debra A. Bowen