We heard during the weekend with Rabbi Dr. Kaufman, that KI members would have liked to learn a little bit about him before meeting him.
Though we can’t turn back time, we now have a short description of Rabbi Dr. Kaufman’s background for you to read, as well as one for Rabbi Jason Miller, who will be visiting this coming weekend, and Rabbi Moshe Givental, who we will see in March.
Rabbi Dr. Kaufman grew up at KI and currently lives in Toronto. He received smichah (ordination) from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1998 and has served Conservative, Reform, and Conservadox congregations since then. He is currently with Congregation Iyr HaMelech (Reform) in Kingston, ON, where he leads their monthly Shabbat services and teaches adult education. He has taught classes on Judaism at MSU and York University in Toronto. He sees the essence of his rabbinate as “being a teacher, a spiritual companion, and providing pastoral care.” He likes leading discussions, engaging in “G-d wrestling” with texts alongside congregants, and partaking in education as both a teacher and student.
Rabbi Jason Miller is from Metro Detroit, where he currently lives. He received smichah from the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) in 2004. Since ordination, he has served at Reconstructionist and Conservative shuls. Most recently, he was with Toledo’s Congregation B’nai Israel (Conservative), leading holiday services, life-cycle observances, and teaching. He also has two businesses: Mitzvah Rabbi and Kosher Michigan. With Mitzvah Rabbi, he tutors bnei mitzvah students all over the country. Kosher Michigan is a hechsher-granting agency, providing establishments with kashrut certification. As an undergraduate at MSU’s James Madison College, he taught at both Shaarey Zedek and KI’s religious schools. He sees every aspect of his rabbinate as being based in education and particularly finds fulfillment in teaching his bnei mitzvah students.
Rabbi Moshe Givental is originally from Russia and currently lives in Metro Detroit. He received smichah from Hebrew College (unaffiliated) in Newton, MA in 2017. Before attending rabbinical college, he earned a BA and MA in psychology from U of M and the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, respectively. As a rabbi, he has served and taught at Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and unaffiliated shuls. Since moving to the Detroit area in 2018, he has taught at the Federation, Frankel Jewish Academy, Hazon, and Kibbutz Detropia, and has worked with Detroit Jews for Justice. He also works with the Russian Jewish community to bring them closer to Jewishness in a way that resonates with their experiences as people from the Former Soviet Union. Core aspects of his rabbinate are tikkun olam activism, specifically climate change activism, education, and pastoral care.