The spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation is its rabbi. Our temple's rabbi also serves as principal of our Hebrew School, the Mike Weiner School of Jewish Learning, and conducts the Rabbi's Class as part of the temple's Adult Education program.
|Rabbi Dr. Andy Dubin came to the JCNWJ in July, 2015, succeeding Rabbi Mary Zamore came to the JCNWJ in July, 2013, who in turn had succeeded Rabbi Emerita Ellen J. Lewis who served for 19 years.
After graduating from Amherst College in 1988, Rabbi Dr. Dubin embarked on a 20-year career in the field of education during which he taught religious studies at some of America's most demanding high schools, including St. Paul's (NH), Northfield Mount Hermon (MA), Trinity (NYC), and Exeter (NH). As well, Rabbi Dr. Dubin served as Dean of Students at two of the nation's finest pluralistic Jewish Schools: Gann Academy (MA) and American Hebrew Academy (NC). Over the years he also spent four summers as a Head-of-Tour for NFTY in Israel, which led to a position at the Union for Reform Judaism as Director of College Education and Founding Director of the Meitav Fellowship for Teen Leadership.
Photo courtesy NJJN
Throughout his years of teaching, Rabbi Dr. Dubin never stopped pursuing his own studies too, which led to a master's degree in 1992 and a doctorate in 2008, both from the Department of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages of The Jewish Theological Seminary.
A 2014 ordinee of Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Dr. Dubin purposefully constructed a varied a student pulpit experience during his three years of training in New York., serving as Student Rabbi for Temple B'nai Israel (Albany, GA), Pastoral Care Intern for DOROT (NYC), Rabbinic Intern for Woodlands Community Temple (Greenburgh, NY), Religious School Principal and Rabbinic Intern for Union Temple (Brooklyn, NY), Student Chaplain at Weil Cornell Hospital (NYC), and Student Rabbi for Temple Beth HaSholom (Williamsport, PA).
Since 2013, Rabbi Dr. Dubin has been serving as the part-time Director of Hebrew Home Study and Adult Learning at Manhattan's Metropolitan Synagogue (a position he will continue to occupy, so long as his schedule at JCNWJ permits). Rabbi Dr. Dubin also teaches privately and officiates major life-cycle events.
A native New Yorker, Rabbi Dr. Dubin lives in Manhattan with his wife, Nancy (Cantor Nancy Dubin (Temple Am Echad, Lynbrook, New York) and their four children, Shira, Liron, Noa, and Ari.
The "Rabbi's Message" appears in every issue of the JOURNAL, the newsletter of the JCNWJ. The most recent message appears below; past messages are also available. Selected sermons are also provided below.
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Summer 2017 Message from Rabbi Dubin
This time of year is indeed exciting to those of us who put so much time and effort into the students of our Mike Weiner School of Jewish Learning. Not only are we about to wrap up another wonderful year, but, in connection with Shavuot, this is also when we celebrate our rising 11th Graders by giving them the public opportunity to confirm their personal and communal commitments to continued Jewish life.
It is no accident that Confirmation takes place at the time of Shavuot, because this is the holiday when we thank God for having entered us into our national covenant by way of the Ten Commandments.
About the giving of the Commandments, Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Rosh Yeshiva of the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland during the middle part of the last century asks the question: Why, of all places, did God choose the wilderness as the setting for this miraculous gift? Answering his own question, Rabbi Katz writes, “Just as the desert contains nothing but layers of sand, so, too, the human body is composed of nothing but dust. But, just as the desert was transformed into a holy place by the appearance of the Divine Presence, so, too, with human beings.” The same, I would say, goes for us, the sacred community of the JCNWJ.
We may be surrounded, as it were, by a “desert” of Jewish life in Warren County, but when we come together as a community, we too are transformed by the Divine Presence. And that is exactly what has been happening Sunday after Sunday at 115 Youmans Avenue. We may be small, but so too are we mighty. As the 5777 school-year comes to a close, I’m honored for the opportunity to offer public thanks to those who have made it possible to have such great learning week after week.
First, to our wonderful teachers:
And to our wonderful volunteer leaders:
- To Debbie Fesinstine – we thank you for corralling the voices of angels so beautifully and with such enthusiasm.
- To Adam Tucker – we thank you for sharing your professional expertise and passion for learning with our older students.
- To Suzi Marr – we thank you not only for caring so much about our younger students as they enter the study of Hebrew, but also for bringing your whole creative self to so many all-school crafts and cooking projects.
- To Marsha Gross and Teri Stanton – we thank you for stepping in as needed from time to time to help in any way we ask.
- To all our fabulous madrichim (teaching assistants) – we thank you for carving time from your busy school schedules in order to give back to the community that nurtured you in so many ways for so many years.
Because of the work of each and every one of these spectacularly dedicated individuals, we have been able at the JCNWJ to keep our children focused on fulfilling their primary job on earth – which is to create and maintain space in which we are ready to welcome the Divine Presence, no matter how we choose to define what that means. In doing so, we have succeeded in transforming our own little spot within the Jewish “desert” of Warren County into a true home of Jewish life.
- To Deb Kalisher – we thank you for making sure we were able to keep the process moving forward over the course of the year by organizing the community day in and day out, even when sometimes you were unable to be with us physically to enjoy the fruits of
- To Marci Braunstein – we thank you for being the master of all details, ensuring that the school always had everything (and everybody) that we needed to bring success to our learning. We thank you also for taking the lead in organizing our Confirmation activities.
- To all our Mike Weiner School of Jewish Learning Parents (including madrichim parents) – We thank you for bringing your children each week and for staying with us for the first hour of all-school learning. Your presence has had enormously positive effects on the learning experience of your children. We thank you also for always providing food for communal seders and parties, and for setting up and cleaning up afterwards. Our school couldn’t succeed without you.
Todah l’Kulam (Sincere Thanks to Everyone),