Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Young rabbi marks new chapter for Tampa synagogue

Rabbi Joshua Hearshen, 34, told them: “I pledge to never lose my love of learning and growing.”

Rabbi Joshua Hearshen, 34, told them: “I pledge to never lose my love of learning and growing.”

TAMPA — The installation ceremony Sunday evening honoring Joshua Hearshen as the new rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom wasn't just about him, but the introduction of a new chapter in the synagogue's 110-year history in Tampa.

"We haven't had that many rabbis in our history," installation co-chairwoman Margot Marcadis said.

"The Jewish community is part of the whole community. When you install a rabbi, that rabbi becomes a member of the general Tampa community as well."

Hearshen, 34, a native of Detroit and a graduate of Michigan State University, has been with the congregation since July 15. But Sunday's installation marked his formal welcome into the community.

"In a Jewish congregation, we don't have a central authority who sends us clergy," president-elect Laura Kreitzer explained. "We select our clergy and they select us. We want to give the momentousness of our a choice a fitting introduction."

The congregation, at 2713 Bayshore Blvd., celebrated its 110th anniversary in August. It is one of about a dozen Jewish congregations in Tampa, including orthodox, reform and conservative.

A couple of hundred people attended the ceremony for Hearshen. Guests included U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; and Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen. Rabbis and leaders from other synagogues also came to support their neighboring congregation.

Castor issued a three-pronged challenge to Hearshen: engage the youth, continue a strong history of leadership within the community and encourage engagement with Israel.

Buckhorn praised the congregation's role within Tampa, acknowledging about a dozen of members present at the installation who made substantial contributions not just within the synagogue, but to Tampa as a whole. "It's important that the synagogue survive and grow and young people come back to the synagogue," Buckhorn said after the ceremony. "I think having this young rabbi here will be a breath of fresh air."

Hearshen's speech focused on the importance of education, while also recognizing the need to reinvigorate the synagogue and explore the role of conservative Judaism. "I pledge to never lose my love of learning and growing," he told the congregation. "Conservative Judaism isn't dead. It's an incredible way of observing Judaism as it calls on us to address modernity and never ignore it."

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2443.

Young rabbi marks new chapter for Tampa synagogue 11/03/13 [Last modified: Sunday, November 3, 2013 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger

    Blogs

    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season

    College

    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium

    Blogs

    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32 (left), was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with boss Larry McCabe when he saw three men …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH

    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company

    College

    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.