Community Briefs: KI Rabbi Honored With Rabbinic Chair and More

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KI Rabbi Honored With Rabbinic Chair

Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel will honor its longtime rabbi, Lance Sussman, from April 11-13 with a weekend of events, including the dedication of a rabbinic chair.

The weekend will celebrate Sussman’s 18 years of service at the synagogue.

A Shabbat service at 8 p.m. on April 12 will include the rabbinic chair celebration, as well as guest speaker Sam Katz, a filmmaker and former Philadelphia mayoral candidate. Sussman and Katz are working on a documentary about the Philadelphia Jewish experience.

In addition, actor and comedian Kevin Pollak — Moishe Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — will perform the following day at 8:30 p.m.

Sussman is the chair-elect of the board of governors of Gratz College, past president of the Association for Progressive Judaism and former chair of the Jewish Studies Department at Binghamton University-SUNY, among other positions. He also has published numerous books and articles.

NMAJH Announces Immigrant Exhibition

“Sara Berman’s Closet” — an installation of an immigrant woman’s belongings — will be the National Museum of American Jewish History’s next special exhibition.

The exhibition, which will run from April 5 through Sept. 2, will include the museum’s first public art installation at Fifth and Market streets.

“Sara Berman’s Closet,” as adapted from the namesake’s closet in her studio apartment in New York City’s West Village, was recreated by Maira and Alex Kalman, her daughter and grandson. The Kalmans’ book of the same title is a 2019 National Jewish Book Award finalist.

A native of Belarus, Berman, who died in 2004, moved to Palestine in 1932 as a young girl, witnessed the creation of Israel and raised her two daughters there. At the age of 60, she left an unhappy marriage and moved to New York, where she lived in a studio apartment whose remarkable closet is replicated in the exhibit.

Reconstructing Judaism Hosts Ethics Conference

Reconstructing Judaism hosted an ethics conference on March 10-11 that also celebrated the career of Rabbi David Teutsch, a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

The conference at the National Museum of American Jewish History brought together scholars, rabbis from all four branches and the public to talk about ethical Jewish issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gender and power dynamics.

Conference participants included Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, who teaches in the theology department at Georgetown University and focuses on queer theory, feminist thought and environmental ethics; and Paul Root Wolpe, a professor of Jewish bioethics and neuroscience at Emory University.

Teutsch founded the Center for Jewish Ethics in 1994, is a former president of the Society of Jewish Ethics and is recognized for contributions to Jewish bioethics and speech ethics.

Resolution Touts Pittsburgh Gun Violence Reduction Efforts

Philadelphia City Councilmember Allan Domb introduced a resolution calling on the state Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf to recognize the efforts of Pittsburgh City Councilmembers to protect citizens from acts of gun violence following the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue building.

“As a Philadelphia City Council, we must stand up and support the work of our colleagues in Pittsburgh as they work to protect citizens from gun violence,” Domb said. “Acts of hate and violence should never be tolerated and as leaders we must implement common sense measures to safeguard people.”

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