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Who am I?
I am a rabbi, teacher,
hospice chaplain, father,
partner, ferroequinologist, and
I have been active the movement for
Jewish Renewal for over twenty-five years, active in communites in
Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Jerusalem, and the New York area.
I am available to teach in your community.
I was ordained by the Jewish Theological
Seminary in NYC in 1982(5742) after studies at the University of Judaism
in Los Angeles and Neve Schechter, the Hebrew University, and the Pardes
Institute, all in Jerusalem, as well as JTS. I have served congregations
in Hoboken, NJ, and Brooklyn, NY, as well as Jewish students at Penn State
University. For the last ten years, my primary professional positions have
been as a chaplain in medical settings. I have also served several communities
for the Days of Awe, the High Holy Days.
For the many years, I have taught basic Judaism, including teaching people
exploring whether they should become Jewish.
I have also taught aspects of Jewish healing as well as Hassidic texts
at national and regional retreats sponsored by the National Havurah Committee,
as well as leading workshops at
ALEPH Kallot(study retreats).
I also taught History while a graduate student at the University of
I have worked as a Jewish chaplain in New Jersey and New York City. Most
recently, in New Jersey I worked as a hospice chaplain with Jewish Family
Service of Central New Jersey, working with hopices in Union County and
vacinity. The hospice I worked with most is Center
for Hope. I was also a chaplain with the Joint Chaplaincy Board of
Central New Jersey, visiting various nursing homes as well as patients
in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Elixabeth, NJ. I also visited patients in
the boroughs of New York City for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York
Hospice Care. Hospice provides palliative care for terminally ill patients
at home as well as in nursing homes. Center for Hope also has residential
facilities for patients who are not able to remain at home.
Previously I worked as a chaplain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center and the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. This was in conjunction
with my chaplaincy training at The Hospital Chaplaincy, Inc. (now Healthcare
I am the proud father of Rena Lillit Freedman-Marker, 12 years old and
in the seventh grade at the Hannah Senesh Community
Day School, a new progressive Jewish school which openned in Brooklyn
in September, 1998. I was part of small group of parents who instigated
the creation of this school because we were dissatisfied with the available
education here in Brooklyn, NY.
My first adopted, however, was Kushi
our schnoodle, who passed away at the age of 13 on the eve of
Thanksgiving on 1995.
In Novenber, 1996 we adopted a two month old puppy, whom we named Tawny.
He has grown into a small and spirited adult dog who still acts ver y puppyish.
He looks kind of like a miniature golden retriever.
My partner in life for over twenty years is Paula Freedman.
After many years of work as an administrator and researcher in health care
she went back to school and became an RN and a certified nurse-midwife.
She is now a midwife at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn.
She is also a terrific partner and mom.
I am very proud of her.
This mean a lover of iron horses, particularly steam powered.
In the summer of 1995 I was able to spend some time riding narrow gage
steam in the Rockies. I rode both the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
from Chama, NM, to Antonito, CO., and the Durango and
Silverton Scenic RR between Durango and Silverton, CO. Later my daughter
and I rode Amtrak east from Grand
Junction, CO. to Rockville, MD.
In the summer of 1999, I road the Coast Starlight from Oakland into
Oregon, and later Rena and I took Amtrak east from Seattle to St. Paul.
Both my upbringing and my religious conviction that we are to be partners
with the Holy One in the perfection of the world lead me to a commitment
to act in the world and make it a better place. Torah has much to teach
us in these matters, as does our ability to think and observe the world
we are living in. An awareness of the unfairness of the social and economic
system under which we live led me to the conviction that the system must
be changed. This involves both political involvement and spreading a conciousness
that we all a part of an interconnected cosmos, and mistreating the whole
is a recipe for disaster, materially and spiritually.
Torah in the broadest sense has much to teach us about how we treat
ourselves and each other, both as individuals and as part of larger and
smaller communities, as well as how we treat the earth which supports us.
Over the years, I have been involved in raising public consciousness
on many issues, but an ongoing concern has be supporting those in the Middle
East and elsewhere who believed that the only hope for the future was for
Israelis and Palestinians to share the land they both are attached to.
For many years this felt like a lonely struggle, but in recent years there
seems at least a possibility that these people can end up living together
or next to each other, instead of destroying each other.
I am the moderator of an email discussion list on
shamash.org for progressive political organizers and acitvists who
find the roots of their commitment in the Jewish tradition. It is a closed
list, for planning, brainstorming, and mutual support sponsored by the
Shalom Center, part of ALEPH. If you are interested in joining this discussion,
send me email and explain both your activism and your connection to
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