Congregation: Machar, The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism
Location: DC, Maryland, Virginia
Denomination: Secular Humanistic Judaism
Ordained from: International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism
What do you love most about your work?: I most love being able to help people find their own ways to live their values and engage in Jewish life — especially when the people I’m helping have felt as though more traditional forms of Jewish life don’t “work” for them.
How is Judaism valuable in your life? And/Or What lead you to your decision to become a Rabbi or Clergy member?: On a personal level, I have a child with disabilities related to autism, but found few resources in the Jewish community that would allow him and others like him to really have a place in the Jewish world — becoming a rabbi was one I could work to ensure that individuals with many types of disabilities could have a home in the Jewish world.
Underneath all that is my enthusiasm for what Judaism brings to the world. Judaism’s long history of standing somewhat to the side of more powerful cultures and questioning the value of what exists in the world has played an important role in shaping how I look at the world and live within it. That sort of counter-cultural view — whether it’s challenging injustice or simply providing different ways of addressing our daily challenges — is one that encouraged me to pursue a career as a rabbi, so that I could help others see what secular Jewish culture has to offer our world.