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From Rabbi Bair


From Rabbi Bair

Rabbi Ethan Bair

JULY 2013 TO JUNE 2018

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Rabbi Ethan Bair grew up in Boston where he was raised by spiritual seekers who rediscovered their Judaism through the Jewish Renewal movement. A graduate of Oberlin College and a former Fulbright scholar to Germany, Rabbi Bair was ordained at the Reform seminary, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, in 2011. He wrote his Rabbinic thesis on "Re-Envisioning Reform Jewish Prayer," with Dr. Rachel Adler. While in rabbinical school, he was a recipient of the prestigious Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship, which brought together future Reform and Conservative rabbis to learn about volunteer engagement, strategic planning and synagogue management. Stemming from this experience, Rabbi Bair would describe himself as a member of a new generation of Jewish leaders for whom denominations are secondary to transformational Jewish experience. Over the last six years, he has served congregations in Ogden, Utah; Vancouver, British Columbia; Sun Valley, Idaho; and San Rafael, CA. Most recently, he worked at American Jewish World Service, a global Jewish non-profit working to realize human rights in the developing world. Before that, he served as Campus Rabbi at the University of Southern California Hillel. Rabbi Bair served Temple Sinai as our Senior Rabbi for five years before moving on to an an Assistant Rabbi position at Temple Beth Shalom in Miami Beach, FL. Rabbi Bair is committed to creating a participatory and authentic Jewish prayer culture; promoting inter-faith social justice work; and integrating Jewish studies with traditional Jewish sources into his repertoire of teaching. He enjoys running, hiking, singing, and welcoming Shabbat guests into his home with his wife, Nadya. She is a doctoral candidate in Art History, currently writing her dissertation.


A Special Message from Rabbi Bair

Written by // Rabbi Ethan Bair Categories // 2018 Posts

Reno Rejects Injustice to Refugee Families

Our hearts are breaking at the news of children of weary refugees who have become pawns in an immigration system, which has been broken for a long time. Our Torah teaches: "You shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt" (Deut. 10:19) and "You shall not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt." (Exod. 23:9) But I believe, separating children from their parents is a move too horrid and beyond the pale for Jews and people of faith and conscience to stay silent in the face of. The Book of Job teaches a litany of wicked and unjust actions, which includes: "[There are those that] snatch the fatherless infant from the breast, and seize the child of the poor as a pledge." (Job 24:9) We have an opportunity to show up at a peaceful protest next Monday organized by our local, multi-faith broad-based organizing coalition, ACTIONN (Acting in Community Together in Organizing Northern Nevada) to take a stand against injustice.

Monday, June 25 at 8 - 10:00 a.m.

Peppermill Resort Hotel

2707 South Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 8950

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions will speak at the National Association of School Resources Officers at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, June 25 at the Peppermill in Reno. It is crucial we show the country that Nevada rejects policies that criminalize our refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters and separate their families in harsh and inhumane ways. Please come out and stand with our neighbors and tell the Attorney General that this injustice must end!

Click here for Facebook Event

Click here for Rabbi Bair's Sermon on the subject from last Friday's Shabbat Unplugged!

Tzedek, tzedek tirdof!
Justice, justice shall you pursue!

Rabbi Bair



To Be Commanded

Written by // Rabbi Ethan Bair Categories // 2018 Posts

In my last month as the rabbi of Temple Sinai, Reno, I am officiating a number of b’nei mitzvah and conversions – life cycle events that open the door to Jewish engagement and commitment. One question often comes up in preparing for both events is what it means to become obligated in the commandments. What does it mean to be responsible for carrying out all the commandments as part of the covenant of the Jewish people, and also to make informed choices about one’s Jewish practice as a Reform Jew? Are we any “less commanded” than other Jews to carry out the mitzvot (commandments) of our tradition?

The commandment of the tzitzit, given in this week’s Torah portion, Sh’lach, calls us to remember all of God’s commands AND perform them. (Num. 15:39) Reform Judaism provides more room for choice than Orthodox or Conservative streams, but must also be a religion of action. Remembering is not itself enough. We must also do.

Join us next Friday night for Shabbat Unplugged! as we celebrate the conversion of Jessica Younger next week – after five years of study and living as a Jew and member of Temple Sinai. We look forward to showing up and celebrating in community. May we each continue to struggle with what it means to be responsible to God and community through the covenantal obligations of our tradition.

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Bair

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