Congregation Beth Israel

Congregation Beth Israel

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Our Rabbi

A Note from our Rabbi

After a long journey of self-discovery and exploration I followed through on my dream to become a rabbi, and have been blessed with many experiences connecting me to God and the Jewish people. I was ordained by The Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2008. I try to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, by emphasizing creativity, story-telling music, and text study in my approach to Judaism. There is no one right way to be a Jew!

To me, Judaism is profoundly about life, about preserving it at all costs, about communal obligation and loving thy neighbor, and about “ahavat Yisrael,” the love of Israel and the Jewish people. My ritual practice includes music, bibliodrama, meditation, text study, cultural immersion, prayer and more. We are living in an interesting time period and the values of the Jewish faith can be a balancing, stabilizing and empowering force. I imagine there are others like me, who are in need of inclusive and welcoming teachings – I hope they look to Congregation Beth Israel as a place of refuge and inspiration.

I hope I can continue to educate and pray with those people who call CBI home. My path wasn’t always easy, and the presence of God wasn’t always obvious, but as Maimonides begins his principles with “I affirm,” so too do “I affirm” that God has been leading my way here to Lebanon and that I will do my best with those divine intentions.

In my spare time I enjoy exercise, yoga, playing guitar, writing and studying. You can find hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Swatara Park, paddling on Blue Marsh Lake in a kayak, or writing for the Jewish paper out of Harrisburg, the “Community Review.” You can also hear me on my podcast titled  The Zedakahcast ” where myself and another Rabbi discuss how how Judaism directs our lives as well as commentating on current events.  I’d like to get to know you as well, please contact me at the synagogue!


Rabbi Sam