The Center for Small Town Jewish Life’s rabbinical student fellowship program offers a unique twist on the classic small-town student pulpit. Each fellow works in a diverse and vibrant community large enough to support its own clergy but small enough to crave the energy and excitement for building Jewish life that rabbinical and cantorial students bring. Fellows receive intensive mentorship from a multi-denominational team of rabbis who have chosen to establish their careers in Maine’s small Jewish communities. They also learn about the distinctive dynamics of small-town Jewish life in sessions with scholars and communal professionals.
Over several visits across the year to a single congregation, fellows lead services, teach children and adults, and establish meaningful relationships with congregants. In addition, fellows offer programs in Jewish communities across the state, including at Maine’s colleges. These include programs related to a project with potential for lasting impact that the fellow selects and executes in consultation with local rabbinical mentors.
The insights and leadership strategies that fellows gain are relevant in Jewish communities of all sizes. Maine provides an especially valuable training ground for the next generation of American rabbis. Our state’s rabbis and lay leaders are master entrepreneurs, experts at finding ways to do more with less. They have much to teach our fellows about innovation, collaboration, and the socioeconomic realities of small Jewish communities. Because small-town congregations lack large support staffs, these fellows will develop practical rabbinical skills in everything from teaching and pastoral care to budget management and cooking. Fellows will also experience the many ways in which non-Jews play important roles in sustaining vibrant Jewish life in diverse communities.
Madeline is a fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, studying in New York. She is also completing a master’s degree in Jewish Non-Profit Management through the Zelikow School at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles, and is a Wexner Fellow. Originally from Lexington, Massachusetts, Madeline graduated from Dartmouth in 2016 with a major in history. She is returning to the Center for Small Town Jewish life as a rabbinical fellow for a second year and is excited to become part of the Colby College Hillel community.
Sara is a fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston, where she is also pursuing a master’s degree in Jewish Education. Prior to studying in Israel last year, Sara served as the rabbinic intern of The Boston Synagogue for two years, and completed a unit of CPE at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Massachusetts. Originally from the Chicago area, Sara is excited to work with the Maine Jewish community as a rabbinical fellow