WESTERN MASS. – Two rabbis in Western Massachusetts are on the Jewish Daily Forward’s list of America’s “Most Inspiring Rabbis.”
Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz of Temple Beth El in Springfield and Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman, founder of the Rimon Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality in Great Barrington were both included on the list of 33 rabbis from around North America.
Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz became the rabbi of Temple Beth El in August 2008. In addition, she serves on Chancellor Arnold Eisen’s Rabbinic Leadership Cabinet, the Rabbinic Cabinet for the Masorti Foundation and the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Rabbi Katz brought adult education to the Springfield community by introducing the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning five years ago. Since then, hundreds of individuals have enrolled in daytime and evening courses. “She is an outstanding educator,” said Marion Broder, one of the TBE congregants who nominated her. “What’s more, her slogan, ‘Just show up,’ has changed the feeling of Shabbat morning services. Congregants are welcome at any part they wish to attend, dressed as they wish. Rabbi Katz meets each individual where they are and draws them into the synagogue community from there.”
Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman was ordained by the Academy of Jewish Religion in 2011. A former psychotherapist, she has been a resident of Great Barrington, where she helped found the Berkshire Minyan, for 18 years. She is founder and director of the Rimon Resource Center.
“Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman has brought inclusive, creative Jewish spirituality to a rural area in New England,” said Susie Kaufman, who nominated Stern-Kaufman for the honor. “…Through Rabba Stern-Kaufman’s learning and embrace of diversity, many people who would not otherwise have a way to connect to Judaism are now exploring the richness of the tradition.”