On Sunday, January 7, 2018, at the OMNI Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado, opening the 20th annual conference of OHALAH: The Association of Rabbis, Cantors and Rabbinic Pastors for Jewish Renewal, the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) welcomed eight new rabbis, three hazzanim and a rabbinic pastor into the lineage of ordained Jewish Renewal leaders.
Family, friends, rabbis, teachers, Jewish leaders, and other honored guests representing the spectrum of Jewish affiliations swelled attendance at the OHALAH conference for the inspiring ordination ceremony.
The ordination each year blends the ancient tradition of awarding smicha through the “laying on of hands,” with the ritual creativity of the students who design the surrounding ceremony. As the music and chant begins, the VAAD – the core faculty and Directors of Studies of AOP – processes into the room. All stand to honor the beloved teachers who guide our growing seminary-without-walls, now the largest rigorous liberal Jewish seminary, embracing students from throughout the US, Canada, South America, and Europe.
The procession was led by Director and Dean of the Ordination Program, Rabbi Marcia Prager, and Chacham Dayan Rabbi Daniel Siegel, followed by Hazzan Jack Kessler (Director of the Cantorial Program) and VAAD members Rabbis Leila Gal Berner (Dean of Students), Elliot Ginsburg (Director of the AOP Beloved Land Israel/Palestine Program), Nadya Gross (Director of the Hashpa’ah Program and recently appointed as Rosh Hashpa’ah), Shawn Israel Zevit (Associate Director of Hashpa’ah Program), Steven Silvern, (Dean of Administration), Victor Gross, Natan Margalit, Shulamit Thiede, and Rabbinic Pastor Sandra Wortzel (Assistant Director of the Rabbinic Pastor Program). Absent due to illness, but very much present in our thoughts, was Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Fagan, Director of the Rabbinic Pastor Program. Also very much honored in our thoughts was our beloved outgoing Rosh Hashpa’ah Rabbi Shohama Wiener.
Holding up the exquisite chuppah under which all processed were four representatives chosen by the musmachim: Laurie Franklin representing fellow students, Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel representing our mashpi’im (spiritual directors), Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan representing our teachers, and Rebbetzin Rabbinic Pastor Eve Ilsen representing our ALEPH community.
All of our AOP students and faculty extend gratitude to the many rabbis and honored teachers who also participated in the smicha ceremony. Gratitude also to cinematographer Michael Kosacoff for the videography of the ceremony, and to Rabbi Shulamit Thiede and Charlotte Miller for the chuppah.
Rabbi Esther Azar
Hazzan Sarah Beck-Berman
Rabbi Elias David Curiel
Rabbi Zelig Golden
Hazzan Jessica Leash
Rabbinic Pastor Cantor Lisa Levine
Rabbi Jason Mann
Hazzan Randall Miller
Rabbi Ken Rosenstein
Rabbi Betsy Eve Roth
Rabbi Jessica K. Shimberg
Rabbi Ellen K. Triebwasser
Click here for the graduates’ invocation of Reb Zalman’s words.
Click here for the bios of the newly ordained graduates.