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December 12, 2003 - Image 90

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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"It is wonderful that Detroit has been
a draw for many young rabbis of all the
movements," Rabbi Nevins said. "I
think most of the rabbis enjoy our
unusually close working relationship,
symbolized by the Michigan Board of
Rabbis."
Rabbi Nevins is past president of the
multi-stream rabbinic group.

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Being There

While some congregations are making
changes, other Conservative synagogues
have marked stability. At Congregation
Beth Shalom, Rabbi David Nelson and
Cantor Samuel Greenbaum have each
served in their current positions for
more than 30 years. Rabbi Nelson
recently announced that he will step
down from the pulpit in 2005.
For congregational clergy — like
Cantor Larry Veider of Adat Shalom
Synagogue and Rabbi Irwin Groner of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek — the
title change to "emeritus" keeps them
still involved in their synagogues but on
less-demanding schedules. Each has
served his congregation for more than
40 years.
Other congregations have joined
together to blend membership, clergy
and services. The 1998 merger between
Congregation Beth Achim and Adat
Shalom brought Rabbi Herbert
Yoskowitz, other staff members and
Beth Achim congregants to the Adat
Shalom building. "The merger was
symbiotic," Rabbi Nevins said, "allow-
ing the strengths of two congregations
to reinforce one another."
Beth Achim itself was a merger of
Ahavas Achim and Beth Aaron congre-
gations. "Rabbi Yoskowitz and I have
truly enjoyed working together," Rabbi
Nevins said. "This has been the greatest
blessing of the merger, from my per-
spective."
The merger of the two synagogues
also brought together their two religious
schools, naming it the Beth Achim
Religious School. The school retained
the Adat Shalom director, Elissa Berg.

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While some area rabbinic positions have
been eliminated, searches are under way
to fill others recently vacated.
At Adat Shalom, filling the position
left by Rabbi Strear is a luxury. "It is
unusual for a 1,200-family congregation
to employ three rabbis," Rabbi Nevins
said. "But if we can find the right person,
we are eager to expand our team."
In fact, he said, "We interviewed can-
didates last year but did not find the
`star' we were searching for. Our position

is listed with the Rabbinical Assembly
and there is reason to believe we will
find a wonderful third rabbi to join our
staff this year."
A search committee also has been
formed for a cantor to serve when
Cantor Howard Glantz leaves Adat
Shalom this June. "We have an active
search committee and are already receiv-
ing many high-level inquiries," Rabbi
Nevins said. "The process is going far
quicker and better than I expected."
At Shaarey Zedek, a search is under
way for both an additional cantor and
for a rabbi to fill the position opened
when Rabbi Leonardo Bitran left to
serve a Texas congregation this past sum-
mer. Rabbis Joseph Krakoff and
Jonathan Berkun remain.
Despite the departure of some clergy
and elimination of some positions,
Rabbi Nevins said, "We added many
new rabbinic positions in this communi-
ty recently."
Recently hired Conservative non-pul-
pit rabbis include Rabbi Tziona
Szajman, who joined Congregation Beth
Shalom in July 2002 as rabbi educator
for religious school and youth; Rabbi
Lauren Berkun, Jewish Theological
Seminary
Midwest
Rabbinic
Fellow; Rabbi
Shoshana
Dworsky, assis-
tant director at
the University of
Michigan Hillel;
and Rabbi
Steven
Freedman, new
head of school
at Hillel Day
Rabbi Krakoff
School of
Metropolitan Detroit.
"Plus there are three rabbis at
JAMD whose positions didn't exist
four years ago," said Rabbi Nevins.
When Adat Shalom hired Rabbi
Strear, his position was newly created
as an outreach rabbi.
Shaarey Zedek's Rabbi Krakoff had
praise for the local Jewish community.
"Detroit is an absolutely amazing
community in which to be a rabbi," he
said. "[My wife] Susan and I have found
it to be warm, inviting and dynamic
from the moment we arrived in July,
1998. It is an involved, concerned and
deeply philanthropic Jewish community
that in many ways sets the standard for
the country.
"I am proud to be part of this com-
munity and think that Detroit is one of
the best-kept secrets in the American
Jewish scene." ❑

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