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When a Career Takes a Surprising Turn

September 10, 2009 By:
Aaron Passman, JE Staff
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Rabbi Peter Rigler

Perhaps no one is more surprised to find Peter Rigler at a different synagogue than Rigler himself. Until recently, he was the associate rabbi at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, but he's now settling into the head post at Temple Sholom in Broomall.

"I loved my time at K.I. and had wonderful relationships, and in many ways I was not ready to leave that behind," said the 37-year-old rabbi. But he added that after hearing about the job opening in Delaware County, he "realized it was the right opportunity for me to start the next part of my career."

While the new synagogue is smaller than his previous one -- K.I. has one of the largest congregations in Pennsylvania -- he noted that "it shares the same warmth and sense of home, and that was appealing."

"I joke that I don't think anyone's ever been hugged so much on a job interview!"

Temple Sholom has long been known as a spiritual home for intermarried families -- thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Emeritus Rabbi Mayer Selekman -- and Rigler noted that he hoped not only to build on that, but to expand the synagogue's programming, including more family Shabbat services and "making sure the kids spend a lot of time on the bimah" during story-telling and kiddush.

"They haven't been up on the bimah here much for a long time," he added.

Even though he's no longer a regular at K.I., he'll still have a pretty good idea of what's going on with that congregational community. After all, his wife, Stacy, continues to work as the director of religious education there, although he pointed out that the family recently moved to Radnor to be closer to his new job. That means a bit of a commute for his wife, but Rigler said that it's worked out for the best.

"In a two-rabbi family, for both of us to find jobs where we're happy and fulfilled, it's worth driving."w!" Temple Sholom has long been known as a spiritual home for intermarried families -- thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Emeritus Rabbi Mayer Selekman -- and Rigler noted that he hoped not only to build on that, but to expand the synagogue's programming, including more family Shabbat services and "making sure the kids spend a lot of time on the bimah" during story-telling and kiddush. "They haven't been up on the bimah here much for a long time," he added. Even though he's no longer a regular at K.I., he'll still have a pretty good idea of what's going on with that congregational community. After all, his wife, Stacy, continues to work as the director of religious education there, although he pointed out that the family recently moved to Radnor to be closer to his new job. That means a bit of a commute for his wife, but Rigler said that it's worked out for the best. "In a two-rabbi family, for both of us to find jobs where we're happy and fulfilled, it's worth driving."

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