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Messages from Rabbi Sara Zober & Rabbi Benjamin Zober

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES FROM OUR RABBIS

Messages from Rabbi Sara Zober & Rabbi Benjamin Zober

JULY 2018 TO PRESENT

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Rabbi Sara Zober grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, but spent her formative Jewish years in Lancaster County, PA. After graduating from Elizabethtown College with a degree in vocal performance and conducting, she converted to Judaism and was offered the position of Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster. She served there for seven years before leaving for her studies at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. While in rabbinical school, she served both Reform and Conservative synagogues from the Dakotas to the Midwest, and participated in the Rabbis Without Borders' student retreat and other interdenominational work. Her studies at HUC focused on the subjects of Jewish ethics and spirituality, and she received her Masters' in Hebrew Letters in 2017. Her rabbinical thesis was entitled "Alei Shur: A Liberal Jewish Commentary on Selections from Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe’s Mussar Treatise," and she prepared both the first English translation and commentary on that text. She was ordained in Cincinnati in 2018 and awarded the Ferdinand M. Isserman Prize for the greatest contribution towards community relations by the HUC-JIR faculty.

Rabbi Benjamin Zober grew up in Cleveland, Ohio learning to love winter, doomed sports franchises, and corned beef. After graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in European Cultural Studies and a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, he returned to Cleveland and earned his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. During his years as a lawyer, he spent time as a public defender, representing death row inmates in capital appeals. Seeking a more proactive approach to helping his community, Rabbi Zober applied to rabbinical school. During his time at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, he served communities in Michigan, West Virginia, Florida, and Illinois. Committed to social justice, Rabbi Zober served as a Social Justice Fellow in Cincinnati and attended the Religious Action Center's Consultation on Conscience. His rabbinical thesis, "A Light Unto the Nation: 3 Jewish-American Responses to the Holocaust" detailed largely unknown efforts to intervene on behalf of Jews during the Shoah. He was ordained in 2018 and was awarded the Cora Kahn Prize for the graduating senior whose sermon delivery and oratory are considered to be the best. In his spare time (or what remains with rabbinical duties and being a proud step-dad to three wonderful kids) he likes to read, run, and make pop-up books.

As a couple, the Rabbis Zober live and work together, make goals together, and care for each other when they fall short. This is what communities at their best do for all of their members. The Rabbis’ hope is to help Temple Sinai nurture a Jewish community in touch with its values, a truly holy community united in its mission and vision for the future.

Aug01

Torah in Action

Written by // Rabbi Sara Zober and Rabbi Benjamin Zober Categories // 2018 Posts

Dear Friends,

One only has to look outside to see some of the effects of the fires Nevada and California. Our city has been blanketed in a haze for several days now with no sign of relief. And for the people in the affected areas, the Carr fire alone has burned over 115,000 acres, destroyed 800 homes, and claimed at least six lives. The Perry fire north of Reno is nearly half that large itself. These are stunning reminders of the power of nature and the fragility of life. Our community mourns with the families who have lost members and offers prayers of support for those affected and involved in containing the blazes.

At times like these, we are humbled to remember that all of our human designs and capabilities are no match for nature’s fury. But there is still one limitless force that gives us hope: goodness. As people have been dispossessed of their land, driven from their homes, and afflicted with loss and pain, others have stepped up to help.

My favorite of these people is Gracie Lutz. This intrepid two-year-old can be seen on a YouTube video handing out burritos to weary firefighters. At two, it is unlikely that she will long remember the mitzvah she and her family performed. But if their generosity is any indication, Gracie will spend her life enacting good values, upholding virtue, and learning how to make the world a better place. (What more can we ask for any of our children?)

Last week we read from the Torah, “V’hayu had’varim ha-eileh asher anochi m’tzavcha hayom al l’vavecha. V’shinantam l’vanecha.” “And these words, which I command you on this day, shall be on your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children.” That video of Gracie handing out all those burritos is what our Torah looks like in action. Although we will never tame nature or live without tragedy, we can live in a world where compassion and kindness abound. This is a lesson we could all use to hear, parents and children alike.

L’shalom,
Rabbi Benjamin

Jul04

Starting to Feel Like Home

Written by // Rabbi Sara Zober and Rabbi Benjamin Zober Categories // 2018 Posts

Dear Friends,

Moving an entire family is a massive undertaking. The Book of Numbers, from which we are now reading, could just as easily describe the sheer number of boxes or books we’ve loaded onto trucks, the trips to the store to resupply our pantry, the frequency of calls from friends and family back east asking about our progress. We are not even done yet. The kids will not arrive for another month, and there is still so much to do.

Somewhere amid the piles of boxes, the movers, and the new address, Reno has begun to feel like home. Maybe it was the first night we cooked a meal in our own kitchen, like we’ve done in each of our previous homes, whether welcoming guests or just sitting together as a family. Perhaps it was when we hung a few pictures - the one from Israel where we met, the painting of a landscape near our old house in Cincinnati, or our ketubah. Or maybe it was when we began waking up at a reasonable hour, feeling rested, and no longer on Eastern time.

More than anything though, what made us feel like we were home was not anything physical or quantifiable. What made us feel at home was immediately being surrounded by a welcoming, loving community. Offers to help us unpack, phone calls of introduction, invitations to dinner, advice and recommendations - these transformed a new, unfamiliar place into something we recognized. We have been greeted with such kindness that we cannot help but feel at home. Even thousands of miles from our parents and (for another few weeks) our kids, we have felt warmly welcomed into this congregational family. We hope to return some of that warmth to all of you at Shabbat services this weekend. Make sure you introduce yourselves to us and let us know why this place is your home. We look forward to getting to know the community and its people better so that with every interaction and each meeting, we can smile at one another more and more and say, “we’re home.”

L’shalom,

Rabbi Benjamin Zober
Rabbi Sara Zober

Blog Archive: Rabbi Sara Zober and Rabbi Benjamin Zober