Many changes have brought Sharon and I to this point in our lives. I continually look to grow in the next stage of my Jewish communal commitment and work. Capitalizing on my teaching and professional administrative abilities. Touching the hearts, minds and passions of a vibrant inter-generational and diverse Jewish communities, who too is interested in bringing their voices together in study, prayer and song, with words and music, old and new.
I have dedicated myself to the perpetuation of Jewish life and the advancement of Torah for a contemporary American Jewish experience. I have worked diligently toward, and have collaborated with thoughtful colleagues and lay leadership and congregants to create, develop and prepare intellectually stimulating and spiritually connecting Holiday, Festival and Shabbat t’fillot, Life Cycle events and congregational programming rooted in Torah, Avodah and Mitzvot to develop connections, and to strengthen and grow a meaningful and vibrant congregation, and with the greater Jewish community.
I stand by the principal of ‘personal connection’ and walking a path, one step at a time for each student and congregant that they are making in their Jewish Journey. Fully understanding that it is not where I think they are or should be, but understanding where they are, and at what level. With this knowledge, a sense of comfort for those I engage is created. An ability to focus on their growth becomes the foundation, not what they consider to be their lack of knowledge and the constant measuring of themselves to others. To help others attain those goals, I am in a constant search to create opportunities which will foster that next level of spiritual growth and knowledge of Torah.
I follow a philosophy and methodology to purposefully engage in direct experience and focused exploration, discovery and reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values. Understanding that the modern American Jewish experience and opportunities have developed through traditions, which in and of themselves are experiential, has been the guiding compass for my work.
This understanding of the individual families and teachers is the foundation to developing plans with different learning styles and accommodations that allow each to grow their ‘eitz chayim’ in their homes.
I have formed and sustained a vision of discovery, that creative ideas and solutions which engage and inspire others are in a state of constant change. Developing and initiating appropriate experiential curriculum components of the Religious School, and the congregation, begins with the teachers and staff. Mentoring, overseeing, evaluating religious school faculty, staff is done by creatively seeking out the best in someone else and connecting them to opportunities and partnerships.
I continue to focus my work with colleagues to foster active, effective and visible gateways created for families, students and teachers to develop personal roles in community engagement. Through these personal connections, individuals become stakeholders with a fulfilling perspective for a Jewish life of connections of ‘tikkun olam’ within the life of the synagogue and Klal Yisrael.
I’ve worked with dedicated people within congregations to create many opportunities and affect changes that have been embraced by my Rabbinic partners, leadership, congregants and youth. I have worked diligently leadership to develop committee protocols that advance the mission of the synagogue.
I have guided the process of the Religious Practices Committee in there decision and implementation of the use of Mishkan T’filla. Working in partnership with this committee, and with my Rabbinic partner, I have worked closely to create spiritually uplifting t’fillot. As the life of congregations change, so to have the congregants. Member families have become diverse, evaluating the relationship of non-Jewish spouses and participants within temple life, and religious participation is constantly in question. I look forward to the opportunities to continue this discussion, and to look for ways to continue this inclusiveness and maintain a sensitivity for the tradition of the congregation.
I have also advocated, created and encouraged connections with Eretz Yisrael. This I believe to be a fundamental component to our identity. My steadfast support of summer camp programs and Israel travel is rooted in building and strengthening the relationships formed with the Mishlachat and Young Emissaries who come to spend time with our children at camp and within our religious organizations, and to enhance our position with them, to return and advocate for the State of Israel as a pluralistic society.
Although I know there is much more to do, it is important for me to know that my goals both personal and professional are attainable. Changes within a community and a congregation are expected, understanding that my positive presence is moving the congregation toward the goals developed by the leadership is key.
Promoting a Jewish life within the community is important to my Cantorate. Yet the synagogue cannot only be my workplace, but my congregation too…one that is there for me and my family.
Jewish life and community is not only an important ingredient for my congregation, but for my home. Providing time and opportunities to help make Judaism meaningful to others is as crucial as nurturing similar meaningful connections between Sharon my wife, our son and daughter, Daniel and Sarah, and our Judaism.
I hope that I’ve answered and raised many questions, and I look forward to learning about you and more of myself.