New JTS Program Provides Support to Underserved Congregations

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

September 4, 2008, New York, NY

In recognition that fourth- and fifth-year rabbinical students comprise an excellent, yet underdeveloped resource, The Jewish Theological Seminary has established the Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Fellows program. The ground-breaking initiative will train and support up to thirty students for part time positions in professionally underserved Conservative congregations across the country over the next three years.

Support for the Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Fellows program has been generously provided by the Legacy Heritage Fund Limited. The cooperative efforts of JTS, the Rabbinical Assembly, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism have helped identify the participating congregations and will provide resources for the students and congregations.

The goal of the program is to strengthen emerging congregations and reinvigorate smaller synagogue communities affected by changing demographics, economics, or natural disasters, while at the same time providing enhanced professional skills education to the fellows. The program will begin this fall with ten students serving nine congregations.*

The Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Fellows program differs from existing student pulpit opportunities in that it provides ongoing individual and group supervision for all participants that addresses the particular needs of the rabbinical students and the unique small congregations each student will serve on a part-time basis. In addition to in class supervision, each student will be mentored by a rabbi in the field with significant small pulpit experience.

Rabbi William Lebeau, immediate past dean of The Rabbinical School, is program director. Field mentors include Rabbi Murray Ezring, Charlotte, NC; Rabbi Hillel Friedman, New York, NY; Rabbi Amy Levin, Cranston, RI; Rabbi Myrna Matsa, New Rochelle, NY; and Rabbi Sheldon Switkin, Columbus, OH.

Further information about the program is available by contacting Rabbi Lebeau at (212) 678-8068.

*Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Fellows Program Congregations and Rabbinic Fellows
Congregation Beth Israel, Flint, MI; Ari Perten
Congregation B’nai Israel, Vernon, CT; Abby Jacobson
Congregation Emanuel; Statesville, NC; Aaron Philmus
Congregation Shir Chadash, Metairie, LA; Steven Rein and Andy Shugerman
Congregation Shomrei Torah, Tallahassee, FL; Kate Palley
Kehillath Beth HaMidrash (KBH), Virginia Beach, VA; Ute Steyer
Shaara Tefille Synagogue, Saratoga Springs, NY; Adam Cutler
Shaarey Torah, Canton, Ohio; Rafi Cohen
Temple Beth El, Troy, NY; Josh Sherwin