On Sunday, January 13 – at the OMNI Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado, opening the 21st annual conference of OHALAH: The Association of Rabbis and Cantors for Jewish Renewal and the Rabbinic Pastor Association – the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) welcomed six new rabbis, three hazzanim and one 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 AOP VAAD – our core faculty and Directors of Studies – processes into the room, followed by other members of our faculty who are in attendance. 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, South Africa, and Europe.
The procession was led by Rabbi Marcia Prager, AOP’s Dean and Director, and Associate Dean Rabbi Steven Silvern, followed by Dean of Faculty Rabbi Shulamit Thiede and Dean of Students Rabbi Leila Gal Berner; Hazzan Jack Kessler, Director of the Cantorial Program; and Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Fagan, Director of the Rabbinic Pastor Program, with Assistant Director Rabbinic Pastor Sandra Wortzel. The procession of teachers and VAAD members continued with Rabbis Elliot Ginsburg, Natan Margalit, Victor Gross, and Nadya Gross, Director of the AOP Hashpa’ah Program and Rosh Hashpa’ah, and Shawn Israel Zevit, Associate Director of the Hashpa’ah Program, followed by faculty and the ten students preparing to be ordained.
Holding the Chuppah under which all processed were representatives of various groups in our community who support our students through their studies: Irwin Keller, representing fellow students, Rabbi Ori Har DiGennaro representing our mashpi’im (spiritual directors) and Rabbis Edwin Harris and Orna Triguboff representing our faculty.
The processional music was an evocative setting of Uri Devorah by our newly-to-be-ordained Hazzan Shayndel Adler, and the recessional music, a rousing composition from Shirat HaYam by ALEPH Hazzan Jessica Roemer, sung together by ALEPH Hazzanim Shulamit Wise-Fairman and Jessica Roemer and accompanied on percussion by Joey Weisenberg and friends.
AOP students and faculty extend gratitude to the many rabbis and honored teachers who also participated in the smicha ceremony.
The recorded live-stream of the ceremony can still be viewed HERE.
The full program booklet can also be downloaded on that page.
2019 Graduates of the Rabbinic, Rabbinic Pastor, and Cantorial Programs:
Rabbi David R.E. Aladjem
Rabbi Laurie Franklin
Rabbi Maury Hoberman
Rabbi Seth F. Oppenheimer
Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah
Rabbi Jonathan Zasloff
Rabbinic Pastor Ruth Delfiner
Hazzan Shayndel Adler
Hazzan Diana Brewer
Hazzan Baruch Morris