On Kislev 10 5783, the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary (SRS) ordained two new rabbis: Rabbi Adam Berman and Rabbi David Pearlman Paran. The joyous ceremony in Jerusalem culminated years of study by both here at Schechter.
Rabbi Adam Berman (photo by Stephen Pariser)
To view a recording of the ordination ceremony, please go to SRS’s You Tube page: https://www.youtube.com/@user-lo2nl6yg9y/streams
Both David and Adam are immigrants, olim, to Israel. David made Aliyah from Sydney, Australia just under 30 years ago while more recently, nine years ago, Adam left his home in Columbus, OH, USA for Israel.
SRS Dean, Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch reports that, “Schechter’s two new rabbis are activists. Now they are accepting the mantle of the rabbinate and pulling all of us forward. Their activist backgrounds add tremendous purpose and utility to our movement, and beyond that will contribute to creating a better Israel.”
Both rabbis are committed to the Masorti movement. Adam worked with Masorti communities in Jerusalem, on French Hill, and in Mazkeret Batya, while David has been serving as president and ‘lay-rabbi’ for his home congregation ‘Darchei Noam’ in Pardes Hanna for four years.
For Adam this work has been an exciting part of his connectedness to Israel. “I like the idea of not only building the Jewish state but also creating a new path, a new way which is one of my primary missions as a Masorti/Conservative rabbi,” he says.
Berman brings a rich background – and an attachment to the people and state of Israel – that merges with his rabbinical career. He grew up with Camp Ramah including serving as a counselor. He was a part of the Conservative Movement’s youth group USY, serving as International President, and his father Harold, is the rabbi emeritus at Tifereth Israel in Columbus, OH, making Adam a second generation Conservative rabbi.
Before university, Berman spent a year on USY’s Nativ gap year program. It should also be noted he met his Israel-born wife Emuna via a Nativ connection. She, as a staff member, asked him to come back and talk to a later Nativ group. They met in person, and the rest is history.
“I joined the Schechter program because it is helping me fulfill something big here in Israel. The layers and varieties of Jewish ‘Israeliness’ are connecting me to my Jewish identity. I could not have done this in a non-Israel based rabbinical program,” Berman notes.
Pearlman Paran’s path to SRS is rich in variety, activism, theatre, and politics all based upon a love for a better Israel and a belief that it can be done.
“I am an activist for sustainability. I believe in educating for sustainability and pairing Jewish sources for inspiration. Together, my work brings Israeli audiences closer to our goals,” comments Pearlman Paran.
The acting troupe in which he is active, ‘Yoreh U’Malkush’ (Place Theater Group), appeared in 2004’s Acco’s famous Fringe Theater Festival. There, the troupe integrated sustainability and Judaism in a play based on line from Ecclesiastes (Chapter 1, line 7) הים איננו מלא ‘the sea is never full’.
David holds an MFA in Theater from Tel Aviv University and an MA in Talmud from Schechter. “I really use these degrees to combine my passions for the environment and sustainability,” he says, including at a local high school where he directs the theater program.
Never straying far from this path, Pearlman Paran spent four years at Tel Aviv’s Heschel Center for Environmental Learning, ran the Green Party’s 2009 Tel Aviv area election campaign, and actively volunteers with Israel’s Green Course environmental group and with the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). His mastery of Jewish Texts, environmental activism and education make him, literally, a force of nature.
“Schechter is proud to ordain Adam and David, two extraordinary activists. Both will continue working tirelessly to improve Israeli society and we look forward to their leading us all to important changes,” remarks SRS Dean Novis-Deutsch.