Rabbi Rachel Smookler joined Temple Beth David several years ago, bringing with her a fresh and engaging perspective to our congregation. As our rabbi, she leads worship, teaches children and adults, and supports congregants through all stages of life.
Her creativity and community care are evident at both regular and special congregational and community events. When our congregation celebrated our final Shabbat in our former building, she led an inspiring and moving ceremony that helped carry the congregation forward. As we plan for the construction of our new sanctuary, we are quite sure that the dedication of this new space will be equally moving.
If you haven’t seen her at Temple Beth David, you may have seen her offering insights at observances for commemorating Kristallnacht and Yom Hashoah, at programs offered by local Jewish and interfaith groups, and at community organizations that she champions.
At Temple Beth David, Rabbi Smookler has created several special initiatives, including our Get Into Volunteering — /giv/ — program that connects members with local agencies for specific projects. Keeping It Current is an engaging discussion of current events. Her newest initiative is Friday Night Fresh, when we gather to welcome Shabbat with a locavore menu and joyous singing.
Shabbat morning sermons presented by Rabbi Smookler connect our modern lives to the lessons and text of the Torah through a balance of scholarly knowledge, stories from Rebbes of different times, current events, wit and humor. At the High Holidays, she presents sermons rich in lessons and ideas that help congregants move spiritually through the holidays and prepare for the year ahead.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Minnesota and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. She has previously served a Conservative congregation in Elmira, NY for five years, and then was Chief Rabbi of Japan for six years.