Congregation Shir Ami Announces Rabbi Rebecca Reice Installation Weekend

Congregation Shir Ami Announces Rabbi Rebecca Reice Installation Weekend

Congregation Shir Ami will install Rabbi Rebecca Reice as congregational rabbi during Shabbat services Friday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at 3315 El Salido Parkway.

Rabbi John Friedman and Rabbi Mark Levin, two of Reice’s longtime mentors, will officiate the installation. A special oneg will follow the ceremony. Saturday morning Shabbat services, led by Reice, Levin and Friedman, will begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 11. A luncheon will follow.

Reice joined Congregation Shir Ami in January 2016 as the lead and solo rabbi and director of education. Her deep knowledge and understanding of Torah, love for rabbinic and pastoral care work, participatory prayer leading style, musical and storytelling talents, enthusiasm, creativity and spiritual leadership have been a blessing to the congregation.

Reice earned her Bachelor of Arts, with special honors, from the University of Texas at Austin and later, during her rabbinical studies, served as a chaplain intern based at Brackenridge and Dell Children's hospitals in the Seton Network.

Her rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion began in Jerusalem and continued in Los Angeles. She earned a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2009 and in Jewish Education in 2010. During her studies at HUC-JIR, she was named a Mandel Fellow for Rabbinic Leadership Development in 2009. She was also granted the Samson H. Levey Prize for Outstanding Student in Rabbinic Literature in 2012; the Samson H. Levey Memorial Prize for the study of rabbinic literature and Talmud in 2011; the Lorraine Helman Rubin Memorial Prize for Scholarly Writing in 2009 and 2012; and the Cutter Pastoral Scholarship for summer Clinical Pastoral Education studies in 2009.

Following her rabbinic ordination in 2012, Reice served as associate rabbi and Jewish educator at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, Kansas. She previously served in rabbinical and educational roles at Congregation Aitz Chaim in Great Falls, Montana, Temple Judea in Tarzana, California, Temple Emanu-El in San Diego, California, Congregation Shir-Ha-Ma'alot in Irvine, California, and Temple Beth Torah in China Lake, California.

After years of faithful service as rabbi and educator, she was awarded the title of Reform Jewish Educator by the Reform Jewish Educator Title Granting Commission in spring 2015.

Reice and her parents attended Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, North Carolina, where Friedman was sole rabbi. He officiated all of Reice's lifecycle events, from her baby naming through her wedding and her first installation as a rabbi at Congregation Beth Torah, which Levin founded.

Every step of the way, from preschool to rabbinical school and into congregational life, Reice has turned to Friedman for his insight, guidance and understanding. Friedman and his wife, Nan, are Reice's godparents and among her parents' closest friends.

Levin and Friedman have been close friends for more than 40 years. Levin first saw Reice when she officiated Friedman’s daughter’s wedding. The second time they met was after Friedman suggested that Reice apply to serve as rabbi at Congregation Beth Torah. Levin and Reice hit it off famously, first as colleagues and then as friends. Since then, Reice has looked to Levin for his counsel, guidance and friendship. She was honored to bless Mark Levin and Kacy Childs Levin at their wedding, which Friedman officiated.

Levin has been the congregational pulpit rabbi for Congregation Beth Torah from its inception in 1988 until he retired in June 2014. In July 2014, he accepted the position of Beth Torah’s founding rabbi.

is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Graduated in 1971 from Boston University, magna cum laude with distinction in religion, Levin received his Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1974, his Certificate in Jewish Communal Studies in 1974, and was ordained in 1976. Most recently, Levin completed his doctorate of Hebrew letters through HUC-JIR in New York in May 2001, and his honorary doctor of divinity in 2001 in Cincinnati.

Levin is the author of two books. The more recent, “Praying the Bible: Finding Personal Meaning in the Siddur, Ending Boredom and Making Each Prayer Experience Unique,” was published in August 2016 by Jewish Lights. Levin is the father of three children and grandfather of one child. He is married to the former Kacy Childs-Winston, mother of Kyle and Seth Winston.

John Friedman led Judea Reform Congregation for more than 30 years until he retired in 2015.

Born in Kansas City, he studied at the Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and Cincinnati, where he was ordained in 1976 and from which he received an honorary doctorate in 2001. After four years at Emanuel Congregation in Chicago, he moved to North Carolina to serve Judea Reform. He has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Keeper of the Dream Award, the Durham Better Human Relations Award and the Elna Spaulding Medal for Social Justice.

Friedman is co-author of “The Trial of the Talmud: 1240.” He has written articles for The Journal of Reform Judaism, Brotherhood Magazine, Judaism, Compass and other publications. His wife, Nan Friedman, is a pediatric endocrinologist. The Freidmans have two children, Joshua and Abigail. ■

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