Yaniv Dotan, Z’T’L. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet.

It is with a heavy heart that we learned on May 4 that our beloved student Yaniv Dotan, Yaniv ben Aryeh V’Rut, Zecher Tzaddik L’vracha, passed away last night. Yaniv was an extraordinary human being, a beloved member of our family whose golden heart, warm blue eyes, effervescent smile, wisdom, courage, directness, sensitivity, absolute, resolute faith in G-d uplifted each of us, and all who knew him.

We all have such precious memories of his righteousness, his warm friendship, his insightful contributions in class, his Torah reading, and his harmonious harmonica from the heavenly world that touched our souls. Yaniv was a true ‘Servant’ of the Lord!

Yaniv kept his illness to himself these past months, and finally succumbed to a severe blood disease that he endured while carrying on with his work. His radiant and blessed soul will continue to shine upon us, and he will always be a blessing each moment we recall his presence.

Shetihi Nishmato Tanuach B’tzror Hachayim.  May Yaniv’s soul rest in the highest heavenly realm and be surrounded by Hashem whom Yaniv loved and honored so deeply.

Below we share a video of Yaniv at the 2019 Retreat playing his harmonica in a duet with Cantorial Student Liz Baseman.

If you would like to made a donation in memory of Yaniv, please do so to either Ahavat Torah, by check, at P.O. Box 18371, Encino, CA 91416, or to AJRCA.

We encourage everyone from our community to share their recollections of Yaniv and their condolences for his family in the comment area below.

A Conversation with… Editors of “Nondenominational Judaism”

AJRCA President Rabbi Mel recently sat down with AJRCA faculty members Cantor Jonathan L. Friedmann and Joel Gereboff, two of the three editors (along with AJRCA co-founder Rabbi Steve Robbins) of the new book, “Nondenominational Judaism: Perspectives on Pluralism and Inclusion in 21st-Century Jewish Professional Education.”

The book includes essays from faculty, administrators and alumni from AJRCA and other institutions, sharing their personal, academic and philosophical reflections being part of a pluralistic Jewish setting.

During this conversation, Friedmann and Gereboff share not only some of the topics covered and their goals for this work, but also delve into how AJRCA, as a nondenominational institution, handles both academic and spiritual participation when faculty and students all bring their own perspectives and expectations.

We hope you enjoy this insightful discussion!

 

 

If you’d like to help support AJRCA’s work in training Jewish leaders to transform their communities into places where all Jews can grow toward spiritual wholeness and well-being, please make a contribution here.

Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days – Overview

At this point, saying that 2020 is unprecedented nothing new. It might even be an understatement.

But when it comes to how Jewish congregations — and their clergy — experienced the High Holy Days, there is really no precedent.

With all of the talk before the holidays about how synagogues and others were preparing for what normally are some of their most sacred — and highly attended — events, we reached out to members of our community after their conclusion to see how things went, how they were different and what they learned.

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Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days – Part 1

This post is part of our series: Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days. (Click here to see a list of all the posts in this series.)

In this post, we hear from members of the AJRCA community about how their synagogue approached the High Holy Days this year as compared to previous years.

As you might imagine, we received responses that run the gamut, from fully recorded online, to livestreamed online to live, socially-distanced in-person services. Here is a sampling: (more…)

Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days – Part 2

This post is part of our series: Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days. (Click here to see a list of all the posts in this series.)

In this post, we hear from members of the AJRCA community about how the attendance at their services and activities this year (online and in-person).

If you attended services (either virtually or in-person), you may have noticed a difference in the size of the audience this year — and our responses mostly supported that. Here is a sampling: (more…)

Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days – Part 3

This post is part of our series: Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days. (Click here to see a list of all the posts in this series.)

In this post, we hear from members of the AJRCA community about how their personal preparation for the Holidays was different this year.

The variety in the responses we received was incredible, and largely depended on the approach to the Holidays as a whole.  Here is a sampling: (more…)

Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days – Part 4

This post is part of our series: Perspectives on the 2020 High Holy Days. (Click here to see a list of all the posts in this series.)

In this post, members of the AJRCA community share their key takeaways from this HHD season.

Since services were delivered in so many different ways — almost all of them a departure from the norm — we were all learners this year! (more…)