|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.
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, Rayn, 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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April 2021 Message from Rabbi Dubin
On Monday, March 29, a rather large and powerful 38-year-old man was recorded on surveillance video kicking 65-year old Filipina immigrant, Vilma Kari, to the ground near Times Square in my city of New York, as she was on her way to church. He then continued to kick her a number of times in the head, eventually bringing the whole thing to a close with his battle cry shout: “You don’t belong here!” To make matters even worse, standing inside the safety of the lobby of a luxury apartment building by which they were employed, just a few feet away from the attack, were three men watching the entire episode as they did nothing to help. In fact, the only action they did take was to distance themselves by closing the front door.
Fortunately, within a couple days, the attacker had been arrested, the three building employees suspended, and Ms. Kari released from the hospital. Still, though, there can be no denying that the episode was nothing short of horrific.
Anyone who’s seen the video, it seems, has been overcome with the same reaction: “This is not America. What has happened to our country?” Unfortunately, even as this may seem a reasonable reaction to a reprehensible set of circumstances, and even if it is true that the emotional temperature of America has been rising higher and higher and higher over the past few years, were we to be perfectly honest with our American selves, we’d actually see that in some bone-
chillingly unfortunate ways, this response reveals a longstanding and deep-seated disconnect, because the fact is, the attack of March 29 really is our country. Not that American ideals are racist, because surely they’re not, but reality suggests that the Land of the Free doesn’t always live up to the ideals we claim to hold so dear. Case in point: The Asian experience in America.
For those who are already well schooled in the history of Asian life in America, I hardly need to help you understand my angst over the way our nation has fallen short of our ideals in this arena over the past couple centuries. And for those like me who, until just recently, are lacking in awareness of the torrid American history of anti-Asian bigotry, I encourage you to spend some time learning about it. I don’t pretend to be an expert, so I’m not the best person to ask for the most up-to-date scholarship on the subject, but even a simple perusal of the Asian American History Timeline, as compiled by the Center for Educational Telecommunications (http://www.cetel.org/timeline.html), will be enough to leave you gobsmacked if you’ve never been exposed to these historical details before.
Whether it’s the:
it can hardly be denied that our country has, time after time, fallen well short of our professed ideals when it comes to our treatment of the vast and diverse Asian community within our borders. And even though the examples of discrimination listed above have all been reversed in our codes of law, Asian Americans continue to suffer discrimination at an alarming rate. While federal statistics for 2020 have not yet been released, 2019 was already showing a dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. The fact that Covid-19 originated in China has only added fuel to the fire.
It’s time for this to stop.
I don’t pretend to have a simple solution, but I do know that having just spent the holiday of Passover expressing our gratitude to God for the freedoms we enjoy today, and that anticipating the pangs of sorrow we are about to feel on Yom HaShoah (April 8), we Jews understand what it’s like to be the target of bigoted hatred, and we also know what it’s like to be on the beneficiaries of divine redemption.
So, again, I don’t pretend to have a simple solution, but I do know with every fiber of my experience that every human being is created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. And for that reason, every human being is entitled to be treated with the same basic humanity as every other human being.
The America in which we are living, one that has failed time after time to live up to its noble ideals, desperately needs our help. None of us can solve the centuries-long scourge of anti-Asian bigotry in America entirely on our own, but neither will the scourge be alleviated so long as we stay silent. So if we truly love America, as I certainly do, our only choice at this point is to speak up, do something, and work to build a bridge, no matter how small. Our national soul depends on it.
Read past messages on the Past Messages page.
- We Are Not Victims. We Are Jews. – Rabbi Dubin’s sermon in response to recent anti-Semitic attacks, January 3, 2020.
- What’s in a Name – January 8, 2016 (pdf, 40kb)
- In Its Mother’s Milk – February 5, 2016 (pdf, 110kb)
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Last updated: January 17,2021