Three New Rabbis Ordained at Zacharias Frankel College

Posted on Nov 22, 2022

Via livestream I attended a most enlightening event on Sunday, October 23, 2022. The Zacharias Frankel College of the University of Potsdam, Germany, held its third rabbinical ordination of the Conservative/Masorti Movements to welcome its most recent rabbis. Dr. Sandra Anusiewicz-Baer, chief operating officer of the college, was the moderator. She spoke of today’s concerns: the world is still in pandemic crisis, the war in Ukraine is very close by, and we are still being unkind to our planet. She spoke of transitional times and how the rabbis of the Frankel College will help students to transition. A leader, she said, needs to be active, not passive. 

Prof. Dr. Oliver Guenther, president of the University of Potsdam, spoke of the importance of having a Jewish presence and Jewish theology in Germany, not only those of Catholic and Protestant religions. 

Abraham Lehrer, vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, spoke of all the work involved in getting to this point in Germany.  He spoke of tradition and the values of Judaism and associated the holiday of Sukkot where we are to be happy and celebrate with our sons and daughters and foreigners. He added that Jews have a pretty good life in Germany, although antisemitism is evident. 

Andre Schaller, representing the Brandenberg Parliament, was pleased to note that Judaism is again being re-born and he is grateful to be working together with the college. He hoped that the new rabbis have good feelings about their time spent studying at Frankel. 

Rabbi Mauricio Balter, executive director of Masorti Olami was pleased to celebrate the three new rabbis and offered them wishes for much success. 

Women’s League president Debbi Kaner Goldich, vice chair of the advisory Board for Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, brought greetings from Women’s League and Ziegler and celebrated the accomplishments of these new rabbis. Debbi explained how Torah Fund supports all five Conservative/Masorti seminaries as the dedicated philanthropy of Women’s League. 

Rabbi Bradley Artson, dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and dean of Zacharias Frankel College could not attend, but he provided congratulations via video, and taught how creativity can come from chaos. 

Associate Dean Rabbi Cheryl Peretz then presided over the ordination, offering blessings to the new rabbis and speaking words of gratitude.  She thanked Dr. Sandra Anusiewicz-Baer for her dedication and leadership; she thanked Professor Guenther as president of the University, and she then thanked the families of the new rabbis for all their support. Rabbi Peretz spoke of the flourishing of the Masorti movement, saying that each new rabbi brings something unique and of value to the movement.  “Diversity helps each of us get to this place in this moment together, and it offers enrichment to us all,” she said. 

Then the three graduates each spoke in their most familiar language.  Ann Gaelle Attias spoke in French. Andres Bruckner spoke in German and remarked, “There is so much to learn and there are so many books!” Irene Mazas Calpe spoke in English, saying, “Words of Torah bring life to the world, and to be a rabbi one needs to be humble.” 

Also attending were Rabbi Harold Kravitz, president of the Rabbinical Assembly and Rabbi Chaim Weiner, representing the European Masorti Bet Din.