2020 Virtual Celebration Journal Journal 2020 Final - Page 16

RABBI JONATHAN PEARL, PhD RABBI GLORIA RUBIN RABBI BONITA TAYLOR I A S have been Rabbi of the Astoria Center of Israel since 2008, visioning and leading a resurgence of the historic Queens, NY synagogue, infusing it with renewed life and meaning, and generating new levels of congregational enthusiasm, warmth, growth, and participation.  I am blessed by the integral involvement of my beloved family in the inspiring success of our synagogue. Raised in a rabbinic home, with my formative years in Israel, I’m an avid musician and composer, playing keyboard during services, fusing Israeli and other music with traditional motifs.  An award-winning author and nationwide lecturer, I’ve written and been featured in numerous articles worldwide. After earning my Ph.D. from NYU, I co-authored with my wife, Judith, The Chosen Image: Television’s Portrayals of Jewish Themes and Characters, the first book on the topic.  In an historic first, I was ordained at AJR before a beit din composed of a Reform rabbi, a Conservative rabbi, and an Orthodox rabbi.  I expend my Rabbinic energy and creativity to lead Jews to a closer and more vital connection with their Judaism, striving to motivate everyone to do their best, to think deeply, act righteously, and work towards betterment.  I serve as a chaplain for Disaster Chaplaincy Services, a clergy liaison with the NYPD, pastoral advisor for many Astoria groups, and member of the Board of Governors of the New York Board of Rabbis.  Judy and I are the proud parents of our treasured, accomplished, and mentshlich (adult) children:  Ayelet, who is now a rabbinic student at AJR, Eitan, and Noam. 14 AJR 2020 close friend once observed, that I seemed to reinvent myself every 10 years. Opportunities in teaching, writing, editing, workshop presentation, grant writing, program and non-profit development, etc., etc. were fulfilling, and kept me home-based to help raise our children, but left me feeling increasingly professionally fragmented. At the same time, our rabbi, Jon Konheim, inspired increased Jewish learning and observance, and I gradually recognized that the diverse set of skills I had been blessed to learn could be used in the rabbinate. He suggested I explore AJR. My teachers encouraged me to be me – both on and off the pulpit, educating and “freeing” me to come at Scripture, sometimes from an unexpected direction, with a firm grasp and the support of traditional texts. My participation in the JCM interfaith conference in Germany, made possible in part by the Academy, led to my interest and involvement in interfaith dialogue – particularly with Muslims. Now, in retirement, I look back on 25 years marked by commitment to learning, teaching, community building, and the privilege of being with people at the most important moments of their lives. oon after my ordination, I embarked on a career in Chaplaincy Education, eventually being Certified by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) as a Supervisor/ Educator. I also became a Board Certified Chaplain through Neshama: The Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). I served on the Board of the NAJC and co/chaired nine national conferences. I also earned a DMin from HUC-JIR. I am proud to have pioneered the field of Jewish Chaplaincy, and to be internationally recognized for that work. I taught and mentored students of many faiths, cultural contexts and lifestyle choices. I also participated in the education of Israelis who are bringing professional chaplaincy to Israel. The work that I did at the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) in NYC brought me great satisfaction. My roles as Associate Director of CPE and Director of Jewish Chaplaincy Education allowed me to supervise chaplain-interns in the greater NY area. In 2003, HCCN received its first ACPE commendation. It stated that “Jewish CPE, as designed and supervised by Rabbi Taylor creates a niche to provide CPE to a population that has been underserved and underrepresented in ACPE. The development and integration of education, research and clinical practice is unequaled.” I was happy to teach at AJR and was honored to receive the Faculty of the Year Award in 2005. I also received awards and recognition from the NY Board of Rabbis after 9/11 and by NAJC for my work in Professional Chaplaincy Education. I take comfort in reflecting on a life of service in the field of Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Education and on the impact I have been fortunate to make because of my training, commitment, and energy. I pray for the ability to continue to impact on the field, and the lives of more students. AJR 2020 15