Often, when we begin a new job, we ask ourselves “who am I really working for?” While we may know the organization’s mission, we may not know the work of our director. When I began here at JOI in August 2011, I hadn’t heard much about our executive director, Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, simply because I had not been involved in the Jewish communal world. However, over the last seven months, I have seen why Rabbi Olitzky was again chosen as one of America’s Top 50 Rabbis by Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
Rabbi Olitzky works tirelessly to help communities and organizations open the tent to the Jewish community. Through JOI’s programs such as The Mothers Circle, and Public Space JudaismSM programs such as Passover in the Matzah Aisle, Rabbi Olitzky helps to make Jewish experience accessible to everyone, especially the intermarried and unaffiliated. In just the last few months, Rabbi Olitzky’s travels have brought him to Ottawa, Cuba, Budapest, and Israel—to name a few—and he has spoken with Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders from across North America, most recently leading a webinar for the program staff of the Institute for Southern Jewish Life.
Many rabbis seek to “open the tent” of the Jewish community, but it has been my experience that Rabbi Olitzky is a pioneer in the field of Jewish community outreach, and sets an example that I hope many will follow.
Congratulations to Rabbi Kerry Olitzky on being named #31 of America’s Top 50 Rabbis by Newsweek and The Daily Beast. I look forward to continuing to help open the tent of the Jewish community to all who wish to enter it.
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