I Remember Rabbi David Hartman

Several years ago I had heard about the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. This program invites rabbis of all denominations serving congregations in North America to study in Jerusalem in both July and January for three years. From July 2007 to July 2010 I was in heaven in Jerusalem.

During that time, Shaare Tefila Congregation was without a building. It was stressful for the community and the staff as we worked hard to keep everyone together; to find a place to pray on shabbat; and to find places for other programs.

The RLI program afforded me a break from that upheaval and enabled me to be refocused spiritually. I was able to be with other rabbis in my favorite city in the world. That atmosphere recharged my Jewish batteries.

The energy behind that program was Rabbi David Hartman. Though it was clear that he was retired from most of his work at the Institute, he made it a point to meet with us and speak to us "rabbi to rabbi." He shared stories from his congregational life and what Jewish work he did to remain passionate and driven. Through his stories it was clear that he wanted us to find that same passion and drive.

The RLI program came at the right time in my life and Rabbi Hartman's message will stay with me always. May Rabbi Hartman's memory always be a source of blessing and inspiration to other rabbis and the entire Jewish community.


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