“I was reflecting on just how influential your work has already been. I don’t know of any other place in the world that is producing truly learned and text-based Rabbis who are ready to serve our particular community needs while serving the universal realities around us. The bridge you all are creating has never been important…Nothing says Klal Yisrael quite like the son of a Reconstructionist Rabbi commending an Orthodox seminary 🙂
-Larry Tobin, Boston, MA
“Rabbi Jonathan Duker is a respected and highly regarded leader in our Beit Shemesh community. He teaches with great enthusiasm and shows a wide range of knowledge with a singular ability to place the Jewish texts into a larger historical context. Rabbi Duker is someone whom you feel comfortable asking your questions to and who gives real thought and care to each answer.”
-Deborah Chonin-Schwartzberg, Beit Shemesh, Israel
“Rabbi Shapiro brings to MMAE a love of Judaism and all things Jewish. At the first hint of good news or a simcha he will grab the nearest hands and dance, looking up to Hashem with a glow of thanks. It is infectious and that shows in how the congregation reacts to him. He finds ways to not only make our holidays and traditions spiritually meaningful, but also fun. He finds ways to celebrate each congregant’s Judaism, no matter their individual level of observance. Rabbi Shapiro shows by example how we can bridge the gap between the different stains of Judaism – Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox and “black hat” Orthodox by focusing on what we have in common and not what makes us different. Rabbi Shapiro deeply believes and shows by example that everyone is welcome and wanted. He teaches a Talmud class at his house on Monday nights and attracts people who would otherwise never be exposed to Talmud. He connects with people in a way that cannot be overstated. His handling of life cycle events is unmatched. When Rabbi Shapiro delivers a eulogy for a person whose family he just met, you would think he grew up as best friends with the decedent. He brings a tremendous level of comfort to the ill and the families who lost loved ones. To sum up what we think of him, let me just say he has become more than our rabbi. He has become our rebbe. And from what I have seen, Rabbi Shapiro is YCT.”
-Jeff Forman, Baltimore, MD
[Written directly to Chovevei Rabbi]
“Can I just tell you once again how much I appreciate and enjoy reading your informational emails about holidays and observances? Your explanations are so clear and accessible. Truly, I have worked here for more than 3 decades and I have never had such a full understanding of some of the things you have explained. Thank you for this, and for so much else that you have added…like bringing real joy to the programs you design for our residents, and your consistently upbeat and positive messages to our staff.”
-Bonnie Gauthier, West Hartford CT
“Rabbi Passow shaped my life at Harvard Hillel. From his brilliant divrei torah to his all-inclusive meals, he focuses on each individual while creating a wholesome community around them.”
-Joe Hostyk, Cambridge, MA
“It’s hard to understand what YCT is all about just by reading about it. Seeing the principles in action has impressed me deeply. I’m on board.”
-Jeff Kane, Austin, TX
“When Rabbi Saul Strosberg came to our congregation in 2005, we were an aging Shul, isolated from our community, with a dwindling membership. But Rabbi Saul has transformed our Shul. In ten years, our membership has grown by over 60%, with many new, young families attracted by Saul and his family. His energy, compassion, and creative innovations helped us re-invent ourselves. His special brand of Open Orthodoxy provides an ever-welcoming spiritual home for members and visitors alike. Wise beyond his years and compassionate, Saul is always doing for others, quietly making a difference in peoples’ lives. He makes everyone feel as if they are the most important people in the world. Twenty-six-year-old Rabbi Saul quickly became Nashville’s “community rabbi,” welcomed in all synagogues, forging strong relationships with the other rabbis in town. He studies Torah weekly at “Congregation Starbucks”— with the female rabbi of a reform congregation. In his first year, he arranged Nashville’s first-ever eruv. When Hurricane Katrina struck, young Saul reached out to the minister of a nearby church and they collected and delivered a large truckload of provisions for the victims — a first for our previously insular Shul. Since Rabbi Saul, it’s not ‘your grandfather’s Sherith Israel!”
-Evelyn Koch, Nashville, TN
“Saul is one of a handful of people that changed the course of my life
First thing that drew me in is his openness. His primary interest is to make the world better for me – not to get me to see it through his prism.
I was floundering in Judaism, uncertain of my path through it, going between extremes. He was the first person that made me internalize the fact that Torah belonged to me no less than anyone else, and the real question was how committed I am to it. Judaism is about living the Torah – not trying to protect or preserve it.
A lot of spirituality I have seen in my time as an adult has been about intensity – going outside and above this world. For Rabbi Saul, it is very much about being *present* in this world… And you can see it from the way you have his full and undivided attention during a casual chat, his kavana during services, or the fact that you will find him with a power-drill in the evening, after services, fixing a damaged pew. He will certainly reap much reward in the next world, but in the meantime, he is focused on bringing tangible holiness into this one.
He is a mentor, and really one of my heroes”.
-Yuri Livshitz, Nashville, TN
“Whether participating in the Prime Minister’s trip to Israel, advocating on behalf of our community, working with young families or inspiring us with his thoughtful sermons, Rabbi Scheier has become a leader in our community, beyond the walls of our congregation. Whether in times of great joy or deep sorrow, Rabbi Scheier has acted as a beacon of inspiration and of hope”.
-Barry Pascal, Montreal, QC
“Rabbi Winberg has been a huge success. In a very short period of time, he has succeeded in revitalizing Brandeis Hillel, making a series of splendid new appointments (based on new funds that he has raised), organizing exciting new opportunities for students, such a trip to Israel for campus leaders. Shabbat programs have been heavily subscribed, and wonderful speakers (including R. Linzer) have come to campus. Amazing how much he has accomplished in a short time.”
-Jonathan Sarna, Boston, MA
“Michael has been a superior addition to our school. Thank you for helping to fashion a true leader and teacher of Israel.”
-Mark Stolovitsky, Dallas, TX