The spriritual leader of a Jewish congregation is its rabbi. Rabbi Ellen Jay Lewis was ordained in 1980 and has been the spritual leader of the Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey since 1994. While technically serving in a part-time capacity, she is well known to the congregation as a "full-service" rabbi. She also serves as principal of the Hebrew School and conducts the Rabbi's Class on Sundays as part of the temple's Adult Education program.
You can learn more about more about Rabbi Lewis, a Certified Pastoral Counselor and licensed psychoanalyst who teaches at the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis, at www.rabbiellenlewis.com.
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Message from the Rabbi:
The changes are not all bad, of course. Nineteen years ago, if I wanted to communicate with Confirmation, I had to pick up the phone or mail flyers. Now, I e-mail. They donít all read their e-mail, but their parents do. When students want to communicate, they text. If a student is late to class, someone always has a cell phone and can send a message so we can find out if he overslept or if she forgot.
When students need to know how to chant a Torah or haftarah portion, I e-mail an mp3. No tapes, no CDs. One year when the class was a large one, they wrote their Confirmation sermon together via Facebook.
And yet, so much hasnít changed. Students read from the same Torah (well, not the same scroll Ė this year will be the first time they read from our new Torah). The words of the Ten Commandments remain the same. The prayerbook is the same one they used when they became bínai mitzvah. Most importantly, they still just like being together, whether on the retreat or in the Simcha Room for class.
And so when I find myself worrying about how to prepare them for the years after Confirmation, I reassure myself that we are already doing the things we can to prepare them Ė and to prepare ourselves Ė for a future that canít be predicted. We are teaching them the words of our tradition. We are inviting them into the experience of being a community, even if the community of the Confirmation Class is a small one. We are letting them know each one of them is important to all of us. And we are training them to be leaders of their future communities.
If you have never been to a Confirmation Service, you have missed something special. All of our classes participate, from K-1 through Confirmation. The liturgy celebrates Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the receiving of the Torah and the commitment to keep Torah and transmit it. We all stand at Sinai again as we did thousands of years ago. That is something that hasnít changed; it is eternal.
Come join us.
Rabbi Ellen Lewis
Shared Thoughts:Interfaith Marriage: Lessons I Have Learned - Essay which appeared in the Jewish News
Copyright © 2013 Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey
Last updated: May 2, 2013
Last updated: May 2, 2013