Innovative Program Provides Support to Underserved Congregations

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

September 3, 2009, New York, NY

Take eleven select rabbinical students. Match them with eleven Conservative congregations that due to varying circumstances do not have professional religious leadership.

The result is the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellows Program (LHRFP), which identifies emerging congregations and smaller synagogue communities affected by changing demographics, economics, natural disasters, and other concerns. The program pairs these congregations with outstanding students in The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) who serve as rabbinic fellows that contribute their knowledge, Jewish commitment, and personal energy to the life of their new communities.

This forward-thinking program, now in its second year, is made possible through the generous contribution of Legacy Heritage Limited. The cooperative efforts of JTS, the Rabbinical Assembly, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism identify the participating congregations and provide resources for the students and congregations. (A list of 2009–2010 LHRFP fellows and congregations can be found below.)

The LHRFP is set apart from other programs by the skillful use of resources and the across-the-board interaction and communication between fellows, congregations, and supervisors who all formally commit to support each other in their work. Targeted individual and group supervision addresses the particular needs of each fellow and congregation. In addition, every student is mentored by a dedicated senior rabbi who has significant small pulpit experience and who volunteers his/her time and expertise.

Rabbi William Lebeau, immediate past dean of The Rabbinical School, is program director. Field mentors include Rabbi Murray Ezring, Statesville, North Carolina, and Tallahassee, Florida; Rabbi Hillel Friedman, Troy, New York; Rabbi Amy Levin, Sharon, Massachusetts, and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Rabbi Myrna Matsa, Biloxi, Mississippi; Rabbi Israel Stein, Williamsville, New York; and Rabbi Sheldon Switkin, Canton, Ohio, and Flint, Michigan.

2009–2010 Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellows Program Congregations and Rabbinic Fellows:

Anshe Emet Satellite Congregation, Chicago, Illinois: Joshua Rabin
Congregation Beth Israel, Biloxi, Mississippi: Dina Rosenberg
Congregation Beth Israel, Flint, Michigan: Phillip Ohriner
Congregation B'nai Shalom, Williamsville, New York: Ephraim Pelcovits
Congregation Emanuel, Statesville, North Carolina: Sarah Freidson
Congregation Shomrei Torah, Tallahassee, Florida: Daniel Stein
Kehillath Beth HaMidrash, Virginia Beach, Virginia: Jason Rubenstein
Shaaray Torah, Canton, Ohio: Loren Monosov
Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation Ohalei Rivka, Orlando, Florida: Jill Levy
Temple Adath Sharon, Sharon, Massachusetts: Rachel Silverman
Temple Beth El, Troy, New York: Noah Arnow

Further information about LHRFP is available by contacting Rabbi Lebeau at (212) 678-8068.