I’m familiar with a fair number of terrific congregational rabbis across the fruited plain of my home country, America – America, which, now in the wake of a bruising political battle, one replete with deceit, dysfunction and despicable behaviour, more than ever requires rabbis of wisdom and judgement to help guide the civic conversation.
There are many up to the task. Among them: Ed Feinstein, Janet Marder, Mordecai Finley, Alison Wissot, John Rosove, Naomi Levy, David Wolpe, Laura Geller and Sandy Ragins on the West Coast; Meir Soloveitchik, Cliff Librach, Stuart Weinblatt, Amy Scheinerman, Jeffrey Salkin, Josh Davidson, James Prosnit on the East Coast; Moshe Shulman, Susan Talve and Jonathan Miller in the geographic center. I agree with some on some matters, and others on other matters. I admire all of them.
I’ve called attention to several of the above previously, but for now, there’s one rabbi you ought to know, if you don’t already: Ammiel Hirsch of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on West 68th in Manhattan. Ammi, a classical liberal, is classically literate (as rabbis once were), and passionately loves America and Israel, both. Ammi thinks as well as anyone I know, and conveys what’s on his mind with lucidity, depth and a dry wit.
Fortunately, he’s quite easy to learn from through his splendid, made for watching and listening to Erev Shabbat sermons. Just go to: swfs.org/rabbismessages.
And, if of interest, see what I wrote about Ammi in 2014 when The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue feted their rabbi for his leadership. (Be sure not to miss the story of watching Ammi chant haftarah more than twenty-five years ago).