Milestones: Deb Smith, ALEPH Rabbinic Student Receives Master of Arts Degree, works on Sacred Table food book.

Deb Smith, ALEPH Rabbinic Student received her Master of Arts Degree in Jewish Studies with highest honors from Gratz College in Philadephia, Pa. on May 20. She was honored with giving the Benediction for the Graduating Class of 2012. Deb is a spiritual leader, Jewish educator, and clinical social worker. She lives in Long Valley, NJ and serves as spiritual leader of Or Ha-Lev, a new Jewish Renewal Havurah in Morris County New Jersey.

Deb Smith, Aleph Rabbinic student has contributed a personal reflections piece on Jewish dietary practices/sacred eating to a new book, The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic, CCAR Press, 2011 (Edited by Rabbi Mary Zamore). Deb’s piece is an outgrowth of her recent paper, Kashrut Practices in the Reform Community: A Model of Inclusion which explores the historical and current philosophy and trends on kashrut among the Reform community at large as well as among a spectrum of her local Reform community. The paper also explores Deb’s personal philosophy on kashrut and her own kashrut journey.

She is employed by Temple Shalom in Succasunna, NJ, as an educator across the life cycle and as worship leader for two alternative minyanim,  Prayer in The Round, an alternative Kabbalat Shabbat adult music worship service for adults and Mo’Adon Shabbat, an intergenerational Shabbat morning worship Service for families.

Deb is the editor and author of Every Tallit Tells a Tale, the only book ever written about the ritual significance and history of the tallit (prayer shawl).

Deb is new to the ALEPH Rabbinic Program. She has been drawn to Jewish Renewal for many years and feels blessed to now be a part of this rich and creative spiritual community of learners and seekers. Jewish Renewal has changed Deb’s life significantly. After years of journeying, JR has opened her heart and eyes to the wonder that is G-d and the utter joy that is Judaism. In Jewish Renewal Deb has found her soul’s center and her spiritual home. She looks forward to being an integral part of ALEPH Student community.