On Saturday evening, December1st, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, a JRF affiliate in Boston, MA, celebrated the 20th anniversary of Rabbi Barbara Penzner’s ordination. Rabbi Penzner, one of four RRC graduates of the class of 1987, has been the spiritual leader of Temple Hillel B’nai Torah for 10 years and is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.
The Temple HBT community was joined in celebration by a range of community and spiritual leaders, reflecting the broad range of Rabbi Penzner’s interests and activities. Special guests included Rabbi Richard Hirsh, the Executive Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Rabbi Amy Small of Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit, NJ (also a graduate of the RRC class of 1987), Nancy Kaufman, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Massachusetts State Senator Marian Walsh.
Cantor Jeff Klepper and Peter and Ellen Allard provided the musical entertainment for the evening. Guest speaker, author Anita Diamant, provided a moving tribute to her long-time friendship with Rabbi Penzner. And, the newly-formed (and mythical) HBT “Candy Committee” performed a humorous skit demonstrating to the gathered guests the application of values-based decision-making as it relates to throwing candy at b’nai mitzvah services, with HBT President Robin Fox starring as Rabbi Penzner.
The evening culminated in the presentation to Rabbi Penzner of the World’s Largest Tallit – 26 feet x 40 inches – composed of the blessings and good wishes of over 120 friends, family members and congregants. This gift was designed and quilted by Amy Gerber, an HBT congregant and VP of Leadership.
On Saturday evening, December 1st, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, a JRF affiliate in Boston, MA, celebrated the 20th anniversary of Rabbi Barbara Penzner’s ordination. Rabbi Penzner, one of four RRC graduates of the class of 1987, has been the spiritual leader of Temple Hillel B’nai Torah for 10 years and is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.
On Saturday December 1, Temple Hillel B'nai Torah in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, will be hosting a benefit celebration in honor of the 20th anniversary of Rabbi Barbara Penzner's ordination. The evening will feature music with Jeff Klepper and remarks by Anita Diamant. We know there are some surprises in store at this event for Rabbi Penzner and wish her and the entire congregation a hearty mazal tov!
The Houston Reconstructionist Havurah has adopted the new name Kol HaLev, Voice of the Heart. The name was chosen because it captures the community's spirituality. As the congregation explains: "In ancient Hebrew the heart was thought to be the seat of reason, which also speaks well for the Reconstructionist tradition that takes an intellectual approach to examining traditional practices. We have also incorporated many Renewal practices, such as chanting, yoga and meditation, so this name combines many significant elements."
Temple Beth Sholom in Salem, Oregon, celebrated its 60th year as a congregation on October 27. Festivities included hors d'ouvres, wine, dessert and a Havdalah service. The featured speaker was Jordan Schnitzer, art collector and namesake of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.
Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, CA, celebrated the end of its mortgage with a special weekend of celebrations in early October.
The Reconstructionist Minyan of St. Louis will be dedicating its newly received Holocaust Survival Torah Scroll on Oct. 28 at 11 am. The public is welcome to the event.
The Minyan received the Torah in August and immediately began to use it for services, including on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Torah is on permanent loan to the Minyan from the Westminster Synagogue, London UK.
The Minyan's Scroll was among 1,800 others that had belonged to large and small Czechoslovakian Jewish communities destroyed during World War II. These are desecrated Torahs since they were either purposely damaged by the Nazi occupiers or suffered neglect and were unprotected from the ravages of climate exposure before they were rescued. The survivor Torahs were consolidated at the Prague Michle Synagogue and then brought to England for repair in 1964.
Rabbi Steven Gutow will deliver the keynote address at the event, to be held at the Dorchester Apartments Building, 665 South Skinker Blvd. in Clayton. In addition, the ceremony will include readings from the week's Parsha, Haye Sarah; a 1945 letter written by Richard Feder, rabbi of Kolin, Bohemia and, after World War II, the chief rabbi of Czechoslovakia; and an excerpt from the Holocaust memoir of Hana Greenfield, Fragments of Memory.
For more information, call (314) 725-0361.
read more »
Twenty five years isn't very long for a religion that just started the year 5768. But Fort Washington, PA, synagogue Or Hadash: A Reconstructionist Congregation is proud of all it has accomplished in those 25 years. From its start in 1983 by six families as a laboratory to train student rabbis at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the congregation has committed itself to being a warm and participatory place catering to the needs of modern Jews eager to honor their religion's past while creating their own place in its future.
JRF NY/NJ Awarded Keruv Grant to Support Congregational Outreach and Growth
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation is delighted to announce that the JRF of Metropolitan New York has been awarded a two-year grant from the UJA Federation of New York and its Synagogue Task Force, to work closely with New York area Reconstructionist congregations and support them to do outreach and to grow. read more »
This year, the Muslim holiday of Ramadan began on the first night of Rosh Hashana.
The Detroit News reported how Jews and Muslims in the Detroit area are using this rare occurrence to build bridges between their communities.
Read the attached report of a Muslim-Jewish Friday night dinner hosted by members of the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Havurah.
Congregation Shaarei Shamayim in Madison, WI is pleased to announce that Rabbi Marcia Prager and Hazzan Jack Kessler will be leading a joyous, soulful weekend November 2-4, in Madison. All JRF members are invited to Join Shaarei Shamayim in an inspirational Shabbat of singing, learning, and exploring together in community.
Rabbi Prager is a vibrant Reconstructionist/ Jewish Renewal teacher, storyteller, artist, and therapist. She is the author of the book, The Path of Blessing, an exploration of the profound spiritual wisdom that lies in the Jewish practice of blessing. She is also the creator of The Weekday Amidah in Guided Imagery, a deck of 20 exquisitely hand illustrated cards which use guided meditations through the transformative blessings of this ancient prayer practice.
Hazzan Kessler is a traditionally trained cantor and director of two Jewish music ensembles. He has been described as a one-man force of nature in Jewish music. His most recent CD is Blue Suede Jews, featuring The Klingon Klezmers. A lyric baritone, he has performed opera, oratorio, and premiered new works, in addition to his ongoing career as a singer of Hazzanut, the sacred cantorial art. He is the dean of the Cantorial department of the professional framing program of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
For more information and to register, please contact Celeste at email@example.com
It's a long way from smoky nightclubs and cabaret songs, but Bogota, NJ, resident Lois Kittner has found her true calling when it comes to music at Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel (RTBI). The temple lay leader will take on a new role as congregational cantor this year, debuting during the Jewish high holidays.