I'm a writer, a public speaker, future rabbi, fitness and nutrition coach and a Social Media Consultant and host a Podcast on Torah, Prayer and Jewish music I am also a proud U.S. Army Veteran and of course, like most of us there is more to my identity so let's just say I want to move through the world in a way that makes the world a better place for all.
In June 2018 I will be ordained as a rabbi. The role of the rabbi is rooted in Torah (teaching and learning), service of the heart, and acts of love and kindness, and it is our job to adapt as the times change. And the times have changed.
Today, many Jews do not belong to synagogues, many live outside the reach of a synagogue, still others have been turned off by synagogues for a variety of reasons, ranging from dues structure, to not feeling welcomed or simply not wanting to go.
I’ve spent a good chunk of my time as a rabbinical student thinking about these kinds of issues and how my role as a rabbi can help foster Jewish community in the 21st century. The ever-evolving Jewish community challenges rabbis to meet people where they are in their lives, help people make discoveries about themselves and their place in society, and maybe even find their connection to God. What we also need to do, however, is think more creatively about how to reach out to and connect with Jews.
As an emerging rabbi, I’ve learned that people still need access to clergy, even when they don’t belong to a religious community
Here’s the Question I Ask Myself? If we create sacred spaces outside the walls of our synagogues, will Jews Participate?
I believe that Jews want to engage in Jewish life and want to be part of a Jewish community. For many, the current model of the synagogue does not work and it is time to create innovative ways to connect with those people. And to create different models of what it means to be a rabbi in the 21st century.
Since the day I entered the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College my vision has always been to find ways to connect with Jews who do not feel welcomed in Jewish institutions, find ways to connect with those who do not want to belong to a synagogue, and to build an inclusive Jewish community, one that is welcoming to all who want to come. BTW it is not enough to just say “We are welcoming.”
I want to meet Jews where they are in their lives and create sacred spaces outside the boundaries of synagogues. I want to talk and listen to Jews about Jewish life and to help them be with the God of their understanding. I think this is important because, as many of you already know, just because we built a synagogue does not mean Jews are going to come. I’ve been to some amazing synagogues and one of the reasons I’m studying to be a rabbi today is because I am a product of an amazing synagogue, and I had an amazing rabbi who mentored me and provided the best example of how I want to be in the world.