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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

(Courtesy of the RCA) In the upcoming week, six rabbis from across North America will be traveling to Israel to embark on a new partnership between the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics. Founded by Rabbi David Fine and Rabbi Shlomo Sobol, the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics provides professional training for rabbis in Israel to enable them to serve as more effective communal leaders.

This year, for the first time, the RCA and Barkai have partnered together for a new initiative that will pair six North American rabbis with six Israeli rabbis. The 12 rabbis will meet for a day conference this Wednesday in Jerusalem to learn about each other’s work and communities. The North American rabbis will then join their Israeli colleagues for Shabbat, where they will serve as scholars in residence in six synagogues throughout Israel.

Rabbi Tuvia Brander (West Hartford, CT) will be the guest scholar in Petach Tikva, Rabbi Michael Davies (Charleston, SC) will be the guest scholar in Gedera, Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich (Montreal, QC) will be the guest scholar in Modiin, Rabbi Shaanan Gelman (Chicago, IL) will be the guest scholar in Givat Zeev, Rabbi Zev Goldberg (Fort Lee, NJ) will be the guest scholar in Dimona and Rabbi Chaim Strauchler (Toronto, ON) will be guest scholar in Chatzor Gelilit.

In the spring, the 12 rabbis will meet again in the United States. All 12 rabbis will attend the annual RCA Convention and then the Israel rabbis will spend Shabbat in their North American counterparts’ communities.

Rabbi David Fine of Barkai is thrilled: “We hope that this project will bring the Israeli and North American rabbis and communities closer together and that the learning will be beneficial to both sides of the ocean.”

Rabbi Zev Goldberg added, “I am very excited to be participating in this new program. I look forward to learning about the unique challenges facing community rabbis in Israel and I am eager to share with our counterparts the rewards and challenges of serving as a rav in North America.”

Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, vice president of the RCA, explained, “The relationship between Israel and North America is essential to the Jewish people. Recent controversies have led some to question the strength of these bonds. The RCA recognizes the need to deepen our understanding of Israeli religious life and in turn to enhance awareness and familiarity for our Israeli colleagues of North American religious life.”

To learn more about the work of the RCA visit www.rabbis.org. To learn more about Barkai, visit https://www.israelrabbis.org.