As you know, Rabbi Greenstein will be away from Shomrei from January 1st through May 31st of this upcoming year. He has been awarded the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University.
For much of this year, a Rabbi Sabbatical Committee, led by Shomrei members Geoff Sadow and Dan Winter, have been working to ensure that our congregation will operate smoothly during our rabbi’s absence. This includes the hiring of guest rabbis to join us for many Shabbatot and to provide rabbinic coverage. This also includes the scheduling of academic and musical scholars-in-residence who will bring to Shomrei some exciting programs.
Scroll down for details.
I would like to thank the Rabbi Sabbatical Committee for their terrific work. On the committee with Geoff and Dan are: Liza Cohn, Charlie Breslin, John Lasiter, Allen Lefkowitz, Nick Levitin, and Judy Wildman. Thank you!
We are very proud of Rabbi Greenstein and will miss him while he is away. At the same time, we look forward to an exciting winter and spring at Shomrei.
– Sara Ann Erichson, President, Congregation Shomrei Emunah.
Rabbi Greenstein’s Sabbatical Leave — Some Questions and Answers
Rabbi David Greenstein, has received the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. This fellowship is awarded to an active congregational rabbi who has demonstrated exceptional intellectual and academic ability and interest, originality, and energy in the pursuit of Jewish scholarship. The fellowship runs from January 1 through May 31, 2019. During this time Rabbi Greenstein will be on sabbatical from Shomrei to concentrate on his studies in Cambridge, MA. We’re very proud of our Rabbi in receiving this prestigious fellowship.
What is a sabbatical?
Sabbaticals are increasingly the norm for clergy across denominations and faiths when the clergy has worked in a setting for a certain period of time. The word “sabbatical” has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath (“to rest” or “to cease”). Sabbatical leave is a time for our rabbi to shift gears in order to rest, disengage, study, reflect and travel, in order to return to us renewed and refreshed in body, mind and spirit.
Sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons, and services. It is a time for the Rabbi to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen relationships with self, family and friends, and God. It is a season of spiritual growth. His special time will also be a season of growth for the entire congregation.
Do other rabbis go on sabbatical?
A growing number of rabbis (as well as clergy of other faiths) are taking sabbaticals. The trend reflects what is recognized as a new model for rabbi-congregation relationships: a b’rit kodesh, or “sacred partnership.”Rabbis and congregations who care for one another experience fewer instances of burnout and dissatisfaction, and find themselves moving instead from strength to strength.
What will Rabbi Greenstein be doing on his sabbatical?
The Rabbi will attend classes, teach and engage in deeply rooted Jewish scholarship while at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies. We also hope he will use his time in whatever way he finds will help him return refreshed, and to grow as a Rabbi, Jew, teacher, learner and pastoral caregiver. In short, being a congregational Rabbi is hard work, intellectually, physically and emotionally. This is an opportunity for him to have some well-earned time to recharge his batteries.
Is sabbatical also a time for study?
Yes! Free of the day-to-day responsibilities of the Rabbinate, Rabbi Greenstein will have time for more extensive reading and writing than usual. He may also pursue formal and informal study with colleagues and the smorgasboard of study opportunities that exist. The Rabbi expects that he will return to us having tapped new wellsprings for adult learning, sermons, and worship.
Who will serve the congregation during the Rabbi’s sabbatical?
We have hired two Guest Rabbis. (see “Bios” below)
- Rabbi Richard Hammerman – Weekday and Life Cycle Rabbi
Rabbi Hammerman will serve as our “Pastoral Care” Rabbi. He will be present during limited office hours during the week at Shomrei and will interact in a teaching role with the Preschool and the JLC. He will also serve as the Rabbi for life-cycle events.
- Rabbi Ari Perten – Shabbat Rabbi
Rabbi Perten will serve as a Rabbi on 6 Shabbatot and will conduct the full range of duties currently performed by Rabbi Greenstein, From Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday and on Saturday, Torah Study right on through to bentsching after Kiddush.
- Rabbinic Intern Lily Lucey
Woven throughout the Sabbatical will be our own Lily Lucey. Currently attending seminary, Lily will take this opportunity to spread her wings and be more present in our services (for adults and kids) and also will add new programing to our offerings. One of which is already underway! “Hiking the Holidays” a program which takes us outside to make a more organic connection with nature, ourselves and the holidays. Hikes will be scheduled around the holidays of Hanukkah, Purim, Passover and Shavuot.
- On other Shabbatot
On intervening Shabbatot, services will be conducted by outside guest leaders as well as our own talented lay prayer leaders. We also are scheduling a number of exciting guest scholars in residence, teachers and musical programs to take place on Friday nights and Saturday. (see “Programs” below)
Who do I call if I have a personal or family crisis?
Rabbi Richard Hammerman, you can call the office and our staff will know how to reach Rabbi Hammerman.
Will Rabbi Greenstein be in contact with Shomrei during his sabbatical?
Generally speaking, no. The point of the sabbatical is for the Rabbi to be able to turn his attention elsewhere, so that he can refocus on his rabbinate with renewed energy and clarity. Being wrapped up in, or even aware of, the day-to-day goings-on at Shomrei defeats the purpose of the sabbatical.
Will Rabbi Greenstein be reading his email during her sabbatical?
No. Our rabbi needs a sabbatical from email as much as anything else.
Will Shomrei just be in a “holding pattern” while Rabbi Greenstein is away?
Absolutely not! We expect that all of our regular activities will continue and that some new ones may flourish. The sabbatical is really a two-way process. While the Rabbi is on his journey of renewal, refreshment and reflection, we will embark on a journey as well. For Shomrei?s leadership and membership, the sabbatical period can be a time for reflecting on our mission and renewing our commitment to caring for ourselves. The Board of Trustees will continue to govern, students will continue to learn, and planning for an exciting program year will move at a brisk pace.
Who do I call with questions about the sabbatical?
You may speak with Rabbi Greenstein, or Shomrei President, Sara Ann Erichson about any aspect of the sabbatical that requires further clarification. They will be able to answer your questions or point you toward someone who can.
We’re adding a number of varied and exciting programs, along with an expanded role for Rabbinic Intern Lily Lucey. Here are some of the programs scheduled so far.
Sat, Jan 12, 2019
Prof. Azzan Yadin Israel, “The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen”
D’var Torah at Services and Q&A (Lunch & Learn) at Kiddush
Azzan Yadin-Israel, Professor of Jewish Studies, Rutgers University will return to Shomrei for an encore lecture. Yadin-Israel spent two years mining Springsteen songs for his book, The Grace of God and the Grace of Man: The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen, unearthing numerous Jewish themes and reinterpretations of Bible passages from his lyrics. More than passing references to “sin” and “salvation,” “redemption” and metaphorical “promised lands,” the book explores a definitive theological arc that spans Springsteen’s albums, breaking down common themes into sections: Early Works, Sin, Grace and the Struggle Within, and Springsteen’s Midrash.
Fri-Sat Jan 25-26, 2019
Prof. Gary Rendsberg, Scholar in Residence
Friday night: Services, Dinner and Prof Rendsberg will speak
Saturday: Teaching at Torah Study; d’var Torah in services; Q&A (Lunch & Learn) at Kiddish; Teaching at Minha/Seudah, Shlishit/Maariv/Havhallah.
Dr. Gary A. Rendsburg holds the Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from New York University. The author of six books and more than 120 scholarly articles, Professor Rendsburg takes a special interest in literary approaches to the Bible, the history of the Hebrew language, the history of ancient Israel, and the development of Judaism in the post-biblical period. Professor Rendsburg has visited all of the major archaeological sites in Israel, Egypt, and Jordan and has explored Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, repeatedly for several decades. He has participated in excavations at Tel Dor and Caesarea. His main research interests are the literature of the Bible, the history of ancient Israel, the historical development of the Hebrew language, and the relationship between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel. Professor Rendsburg has received several fellowships including the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Fri-Sat Mar 1-2, 2019
Musical Scholar in Residence: Joey Weisenberg
Friday night: Nigun filled (wordless melodies) preparation to services; services; dinner; musical program after dinner.
Saturday: Torah Study; d’var Torah in services; melody filled Shaharit & Musaf, Q&A (Lunch & Learn) at Kiddish; Teaching at Minha/Seudah, Shlishit/Maariv/Havdallah.
Joey Weisenberg is the Creative Director of Mechon Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, which seeks to empower Jewish community-building through music. Joey works to educate and train communities around the world to unlock their musical and spiritual potential, and to make music a lasting and joy–filled force in shul and in Jewish life. He runs workshops and trainings across the country and is a multi-instrumental musician, singer, and composer. His nigunim, published in 6 CDs and a Songbook, have become popular worldwide. Join us for an engaging Shabbaton to experience the power of communal interaction through Jewish melodies and prayer-texts. Our Shabbat together will focus on the intersection of music, spirituality, and prayer beginning with niggun-infused Shabbat
Preparation followed by a musically and spiritually uplifting Kabbalat Shabbat service. After a community Shabbat dinner, Joey will teach “The Art of the Nigun” On Shabbat morning, Joey will offer a D’var Torah about the Architecture of Listening, followed by an inspirational Musaf merging traditional nusach and soulful nigunim, where he will cultivate the power of the communal voice through rhythm, spontaneous harmony, and careful listening. Joey also will teach at Kiddush and for Mincha/Seudah Shlishit/Maariv/Havdallah, we will delight in taking “slow leave” of Shabbat with songs, words of Torah, and a light meal.
Dec 2, 2018, Mar 10, Apr 2, Jun 9, 2019, “Hiking The Holidays”;
Feb 1, 2019, Youth Led Shabbat; Feb 23, 2019, Teen Shabbat;
May 3, 2019, Beatles Theme Shabbat.
Rabbinic Intern, Lily Lucey
Lily will lead many of the Friday night services, some Shabbat morning services when Shabbat school is not in session, as well as two youth-led services in the main congregation. She will also be leading a four-part series of hikes for Hanukkah, Purim, Passover, and Shavuot. All ages are welcome to explore our personal and communal engagement of the holidays in the wonders of nature.
Biographies of Rabbis and Rabinic Intern covering for Rabbi Greenstein while he is away on sabbatical.
Rabbi Richard Hammerman
Rabbi Richard Hammerman is a graduate of the Joint Program of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary where he also received a Masters degree, rabbinic ordination and an honorary doctoral degree.
For over 40-years, he has been intimately involved in almost every aspect of synagogue life on either a professional or voluntary basis including Camp Ramah; United Synagogue as Director of Collegiate Activities; Solomon Schechter Academy of Ocean and Monmouth Counties; International Vice President, World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues; member, Executive Board, Schechter Institute, Jerusalem; original board member, Foundation for Masorti Israel; served on JTS Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet; member, Leadership Council for Conservative Judaism; officer, Mercaz; member, Rabbinic Cabinet Conservative Yeshiva; Chmn, Joint Campaign for RA-JTS-Masorti, Israel, Rabbinical Assembly, Exec. Council.
In 2006 Rabbi Hammerman retired as Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Israel, Toms River, New Jersey, after serving as its rabbi and community
He currently volunteers and teaches adult education courses in Bible at Agudath Israel, Caldwell and is involved in ACAP Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis of Livingston, NJ as a member of the Board of Directors. He and his wife, Sharon are the parents of Leah Hammerman, Rabbi Eytan and Rebecca Hammerman and Rabbi Yael Hammerman and Rabbi Joshua Rabin. They have five grandchildren with whom they spend much enjoyable time. He and his wife maintain a home in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Ari Perten
Rabbi Ari Perten is currently the Assistant Director of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2009 and earned an MA degree in Jewish Education. Through a joint program between JTS’ Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies and Columbia University he holds degrees in International Politics and Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages. Rabbi Perten previously served as the Rabbi of congregation Eitz Chaim, in Monroe, New York. He has a passion for Jewish education, teaching and learning. He has worked extensively with Jewish youth through USY, Hebrew High School and Camp Ramah. He lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with his wife Rebecca and their three children.
Rabbinic Intern, Lily Lucey
Lily Lucey currently serves as Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Shomrei Emunah. She is also serving in her third year as the congregation’s Assistant Education Director. She leads the monthly “Hinei Mah Tov” family service, a monthly Tot Shabbat service, and weekly services for each age group of the JLC (religious school) on Shabbat mornings. Behind the scenes she works with the education team to develop curriculum and school structure; in front of the scenes, she loves prayer and song and focusing on creating a safe, engaging, and comfortable prayer space. Lily is energized by working with people of all ages and passionate about community. As Rabbinic Intern she has expanded her role of working with the school-aged families to incorporate programming which spans age groups by leading programs and services that are intended for all ages.
Prior to moving to New Jersey in 2016, Lily worked for twelve years at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater, Florida, and she maintains strong ties to the community. At Beth Shalom she served as the B’nai Mitzvah
Teacher & Coordinator and often served as a prayer-leader, singer, and cantorial soloist at community and holiday events. She also worked at Suncoast Hospice (Clearwater, FL) and is a certified Music Together teacher for young children and families.
Lily is in her second year of studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, where she is pursuing rabbinic ordination. In October 2018 she co-chaired the school’s annual retreat, focusing on both community-building and gender inequality through a Jewish lens