Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Rabbi Roni Handler Story

Rabbi Roni Handler: My Or Hadash Story

Director of Community Learning for the RRC and Editor of

The year I began rabbinical school, Lani Moss suggested that I apply to teach Hebrew School at Or Hadash. After speaking with Lori Rubin, I was offered a position teaching Hebrew to the 4th grade class. Little did I know then what an integral role Or Hadash, and these two women, would play in my rabbinic formation.

In the fall of 2009 I returned to Or Hadash as the Rabbinic Intern, preparing to fill in as Sabbatical Rabbi in 2010-2011 while Rabbi Josh and his family were in Israel. I applied for the position hoping to acquire some experience as a congregational rabbi and excited to reconnect with the Or Hadash community. What I didn’t expect was to be so warmly embraced by the congregation, forging deep connections with a community that I still consider my home.

The year, much like life, was marked with difficult and joyous moments, as well as the day-to-day holy work of leading, teaching, and simply being present. You welcomed me into your hearts and homes in your most vulnerable and intimate moments, and in so doing, helped me to discover the truly sacred work of being a rabbi. You showed me the beauty of walking alongside your B’nai Mitzvah students as they owned the bimah and lead our community in prayer. You inspired me with your insights as we delved deeply into the texts of our tradition. And most of all, you taught me what an honor and privilege it is to be inspired by and to lead such a vibrant spiritual community.