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Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner

U.S.
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Expertise

Write to me with questions about Jewish customs and law, history, philosophy and tradition for answers from a Conservative perspective or conversion. I am a graduate of The Jewish Theological Seminary and a member of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly. Having served in congregational pulpits since 1970, I now am President of the Foundation For Family Education, Inc. a non-profit educational endeavor. I established it to create new formats of hands-on programs and provide free educational downloads at www.jewishfreeware.org. In addition to general informational questions I welcome your questions about programs for social action, outreach to dual-faith families, inter-faith clergy projects, healing services, education for conversion, adult education for the congregation and the community. If you have questions about Informal and Formal Education I am ready to share my extensive experience with Youth Activities, Camping and Religious School/Hebrew High School on a congregational, community and national/international level.

Experience in the area

I have served on the National Youth Commission for more than 25 years and serve on the Boards of the Conservative Zionist movement MERCAZ and the World Council of Synagogues. I have always dual-families and taught candidates for conversion with a great sense of fulfillment. I am very proud of 25 years on the Jewish camping staff of Camps Ramah. My greatest source of pride is my family! Ask me about them, please!:-)

What do you like about this subject?

I have always enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for learning about our Jewish heritage with members of the Jewish community and with others who are interested in our tradition. I have always enjoyed asking questions, and I appreciate the opportunity to research answers to answer the questions of others - that's a special opportunity and blessing.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I enjoy most studying the classical texts - the primary text and commentaries - of our Rabbis and Sages carefully and closely, mining them for hints and bits about life as it was lived by Jews thousands of years ago, their questions and their problems as they searched for meaning in the face of challenge. It's like "literary archaeology."

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

I am fascinated by the fact that Jews have always had an enthusiasm about questioning their tradition, especially the texts (now written but have been oral and also in "scraps" of written records). I am impressed by our recovery from various resources - e.g. Cairo Geniza - the consistency of questions over the past several thousand years - generation after generation. People don't really change.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

I am still hoping that as we continue to "dig" in the texts of our tradition and research the origins of early Christianity and Islam, we will discover much more than we know now about the origins of modern Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Average Ratings

Recent Reviews from Users

Read More Comments

    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
UserDateKCPComments
Alex08/09/161010I'm sorry, but I don't remember who .....
david05/22/16101010Thank you Rabbi. Useful advice for my .....
jen01/29/16101010Thank you very much!!
Nicole06/16/15101010Thank you, Rabbi!
greg05/17/15101010Thanks so much Rabbi Dov (Bear!), Your .....

Recent Answers from Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner

2016-08-18 Hell punishment:

Dear AM,    Thank you for writing. The subject is important, but as in other religious faiths, the answer is not absolute and universal for all faith adherents.    In Judaism, there are movements which

2016-08-07 Five people who went to Hell permanently?:

Dear Alex,    Thanks for writing and it is fascinating - but in my opinion not in our belief system - for various reasons.    Where was this synagogue and who was the person leading it? Rabbi? Cantor?

2016-05-20 Lapsed Jew:

Dear David,    Thank you for writing, and I admire your choices to reconnect with the Jewish community.    This will be good for you and for them, and the support of a community is a value which is  hard

2015-08-05 practices:

Dear Michael,    Thanks for writing.    First of all, I've never heard of such a custom or practice let alone a law or rule. So much for either my knowledge as a traditional Rabbi for 50 years or my ignorance!

2015-06-16 Tzitziyot on One's Belt As An Alternative To A Tallit Katan:

Dear Nicole    Thanks for writing    Fringes are a Biblical commandment to be tied on the four corners of all square  garments.     In the interest of enabling some who feel so obliged the custom of wearing

 

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