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Erev Shabbat Message from Rabbi Feldman

Dear Friends,                                                                                                                               
 
Today is a very special, personal anniversary for me. It was 18 years ago today that I became a Rabbi and I still remember so many details of the day. There were two key components to ordination - the religious ceremony in the morning for all of the Rabbinical students and Cantorial and then the commencement in the afternoon for all of the students from all five educational programs at JTS. Among my fondest memories of the day is the fact that Sara was very pregnant which always helps me connect the fact that I became a Rabbi and a father nine days apart.
 
In these 18 years, I was a Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights, NY for six years and for the past 12 years here at The Jewish Center. I have said often that after five years in Rabbinical School, I spent the next six years working with Rabbi Alan Lucas at TBS learning how to be a Rabbi. There are still so many times when I face a challenge that I refer back to the lessons I learned from and moments I shared with Rabbi Lucas.
 
In our time together at The Jewish Center, I am proud of what we have accomplished and I am grateful for all of the lay and professional partners who have been a part of my journey. In these years, you have invited me into some critical moments in your lives - some for celebration and some for more somber events - and I have felt the great privilege in each of these moments. I have had the honor of naming your babies, sharing the bimah with B'nai Mitzvah students, standing under the chupah with brides and grooms and officiating at funerals and shiva minyanim that honored the lives of so many people we hold dear. I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with our youngest members in our Early Childhood Program, been asked fascinating questions by our Religious School students, shared many lessons with our Tichon High School students and been challenged in nearly everyone of my Adult Education Classes. On Shabbatot and Holidays, I enjoyed being part of the congregation as we inspire one another through our prayers and songs always trying to share some words of Torah that help everyone see things in a new light. I am honored every time I represent our congregation at a community event in the greater Princeton community through my work in the Clergy Association, the Department of Religious Ministries at Princeton Hospital and as a Chaplain for the Princeton Police Department. I have worked with the officers and board members of TJC to address so many of the needs of our congregation within the areas of Education, Religious Affairs, Programming, Fundraising, Membership, Social Action, Youth and others. I have also shared many personal conversations, pastoral counseling sessions in my office, at the hospital, in your homes and in coffee shops around town.
 
Of course we have also faced challenges. Some of these have included great personal challenges that members of the congregation faced and I was there to support and listen. Others were congregational challenges that we addressed together. And through it all, I have felt honored and blessed to be your Rabbi. I first knew I wanted to be a Congregational Rabbi when I was a teenager and I am one of the few people I know who has been able to fulfill their professional dream for 18 years. In case you are wondering, my plans are to stay here at TJC for many more years and continue to work with you to inspire, teach, connect and partner with the congregation long into the future. I just see this anniversary as a time to reflect back on my first 18 years as a Rabbi.
 
On this anniversary, I am grateful for all of my teachers and mentors who help me fulfill my Rabbinic responsibilities, I am grateful for my professional colleagues and lay leaders who serve as my partners and teachers, I am grateful for my students of all ages who inspire me and motivate me to help educate and inspire people to feel a connection to our Jewish traditions. And most of all, I am grateful to God for giving me the ability to do what I do every day, to help people connect to the values, traditions, stories, lessons and responsibilities of our people, and leading me on this great path.
 
These 18 years have filled my life in more ways that I could ever share so today is a moment for me to pause, express my gratitude and bless the One who has given me life, sustained me and helped me reach this great milestone. I look forward to the next 18 years of serving God and the Jewish community in all the ways that I can.
 
Thank you for sharing this anniversary with me.
 
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Posted: 5/19/2017 9:41:56 AM by | with 0 comments

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