31 May/1 June 2024, 24 Iyyar 5784

We are so delighted at FPS to have welcomed Student Rabbi James Feder to be our intern for the next 5 weeks. Please look out for learning opportunities with him – he’ll be leading services this Shabbat, as well as teaching with me at Delving into Judaism (our weekly Adult Ed class for all interested in learning more). He will also be leading Café Ivriah on 15th June, Navigating Communal Trauma: Re-Reading Psalm 23 after October 7th. He introduces himself below.

Shabbat Shalom.

“If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments,” God promises in the opening verses of Parshat Behukotai, “I will grant your rains in their season.” I’ve only been here a few days, but if rain is the litmus test, it seems to me that God is certainly quite pleased with you — and I can see why! I’ve been so moved by the warm embrace I received upon joining FPS last Shabbat, and am really looking forward to spending the next month with you all.

Heading into my fifth and final year of rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Reform Judaism’s seminary in North America, I am so grateful to Rabbi Rebecca Birk for providing me this opportunity to experience the British Jewish community. In many ways, it feels like a homecoming. I spent five years living in the UK, earning an undergraduate degree from the University of St. Andrew’s and a postgraduate degree from the University of Glasgow. Since then, and before beginning rabbinical school, I spent two years working in LGBT journalism in New York City and four years directing communications for an international consortium of non-profits involved in Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution. In 2018, I made aliyah to Israel, where I worked with one of the largest civil society organisations aiming to mobilise moderate Israelis in support of progressive causes.

When I’m not here, I’m based in in Brooklyn, New York, and study at HUC-JIR’s Manhattan campus. In the fall, I will be returning for a third year as the rabbinic intern for the amazing community at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Among various honours and fellowships, I am a current fellow in the Tisch Fellowship Programme, which is led by Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman (himself a big fan of Liberal Judaism and FPS).

Having lived my life between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel, I have long said that I want to craft a rabbinate that is truly global. This feels like an important step towards realising that aim. I am so excited to learn from you, to pray with you, and to grow as a leader through our time together.

להתראות \ l’hitra-ot,

James Feder