Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey

The Rabbi's Page

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.

Rabbi Dr. Andy Dubin
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.

E-mail Rabbi Dubin


March 2017 Message from Rabbi Dubin

Dear Friends,

The Jewish month of Adar began on Friday Evening, February 26...and the timing couldn’t have been better, because, according to the Talmud (Taanit 29a), “When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy (בשמחה מרבין אדר משנכנס).” If ever in our recent memory there were a time that we’ve needed to increase in joy, certainly this would be it!

As anyone can see, we are living in angry times. Regardless of political affiliation or socioeconomic class, we and most of our fellow Americans are angry. We are taking to the streets, posting on the internet, and taking matters into our own hands. It’s palpable, it’s disturbing, and it has the tendency to get loud and aggressive. Even worse, we have become a society of fear. Some of us fear immigrants, and some fear the rise of xenophobia. Some fear minority religious traditions, and some fear the increasing presence of a single religious perspective in our public discourse. Some fear government overreach into our lives, while others fear there’s not enough government involvement in our lives. Some fear we will lose healthcare, while others fear we won’t be able to afford the healthcare we already have if things don’t change. Some fear the violence being perpetrated by lawless citizens, while others fear the violence perpetrated by those sworn to protect us. Some fear we don’t have enough guns in the hands of ordinary people, while others fear we have too many guns in the hands of ordinary people. Yes, we are a polarized society, but if there is one thing unifying us, unfortunately, it seems to be our shared anger, fear, and distrust of others.

Thank Goodness for Adar, the month of Purim, the time when we celebrate our delivery from destruction! For anyone who’s had the pleasure of spending time in our building recently and seeing or hearing our Spielers prepare for their Purim performance, you know what happiness looks and sounds like. For anyone who’s ever seen our children dress in costume, sing joyous songs of Purim, or come away with sticky hands from hamantaschen filling, you, too, know what happiness looks like. For anyone who’s lived the experience of giving or receiving Mishloach Manot (special gifts of Purim food) and Matanot l'Evyonim (gifts to the poor), as we are instructed to do in Esther 9:22, you as well know what happiness feels like.

Yes, we live in challenging times. Yes, we spend our days navigating the landmines of anger and fear. Yes, we must keep paying attention, and yes, we may have legitimate reasons to be angry or scared, but so too are we the inheritors of a wise tradition. Sometimes, even if we don’t know how, we need to make space for joy and happiness. And if you don’t know how, just follow the adage, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Force a smile. Put yourself in joyous situations. Find reasons to be happy. Mind you, this will be easier for some than others. For some, moving from anger and fear to happiness can be achieved by a mere change in attitude. For others, it is far more challenging and requires the help of medical professionals. But for all of us, it requires a series of conscious decisions. So, whether you already count yourself among the happy or not, I invite and encourage you to join us on Sunday morning, March 12 (the 14th of Adar) to support our Spielers, appreciate our children, eat some hamantaschen, and increase our collective joy.

Be Happy! It’s Adar!!!
Rabbi Dubin

Selected Sermons:

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Last updated: March 4, 2017