Congregation Beth Israel

Congregation Beth Israel

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Our Rabbi

A Note from our Rabbi

I was ordained in the Spring of 2018 as a pluralist rabbi from The Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY. Pluralism means that I am trained to meet congregants in whatever practice is most meaningful to them, from orthodox to reform. It is my personal goal to be as inclusive as possible and to validate the myriad expressions of Jewish practice. We are blessed with such religious diversity, I continue to learn new things every day.

Coming from personal experience, I know how critical sage advice is in fostering a welcoming community. 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 grew up in Connecticut, in a large family of boys, and ultimately chose AJR as my seminary for its emphasis on creativity, inclusion, and text study.

I came to understand that Judaism is profoundly about life, about preserving it at all costs, about communal obligation and loving thy neighbor. And about conscientious meditation. I learned guitar and grew to embrace the mystic tradition alongside Jewish ritual practice. We are living in an interesting time period and the messages can be stabilizing and empowering. I imagine there are others in need of similar teachings and 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. I’d like to get to know you as well, please contact me at the synagogue!

B’shalom,
Rabbi Sam