temple beth shalom

Introduction to Rabbi Amita Jarmon
September 5, 2017

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Introduction to Rabbi Amita Jarmon:

Shalom to all members, friends, and potential High Holiday shul-goers at Temple Beth Shalom in Mechanicsburg.

I had the pleasure of being your Chazzanit (cantor) two years ago, and am looking forward to returning this fall as your Chazzanit and Rabbi.

A little bit about me:
I grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. I spent a year in Israel after high school, and several years later, I came on aliyah in December 1982. After a stint on a kibbutz, I received a degree in Physical Therapy from Tel Aviv University in 1987. For a variety of reasons, I returned to the US several months later. I worked as a physical therapist for 11 years in Philadelphia and Western Mass, and entered the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1999. From 2004-2009, I served as full-time rabbi of Adas Yoshuron, a non-affiliated synagogue in midcoast Maine. Throughout the 21 years that I was back in the US, I felt a call to return to Israel – at times faint and at times very strong. I finally took the leap and moved back to Jerusalem in July ’09.

In these 8 years, I have worked as a physical therapist in 6 long term care facilities. What I love most
about working in Jerusalem nursing homes, is that the residents (my patients) are Jews from all over
the world, and the staff are Jews from secular to Orthodox, Russian, Ethiopian, native Israeli, many Palestinians, and assorted others. We all work together harmoniously for the good of the patients. I also
work as a private massage therapist, and as a dance therapist for groups of people with dementia. I officiate at life cycle events in Europe and Israel, tutor Hebrew via Skype, and recently completed a unit of
Clinical Pastoral Education — known in Israel as Spiritual Care. In addition to participating in a variety
of Jewish prayer communities – Conservative, Reform and Renewal, I am involved in several meditation
groups, and taught Mindfulness meditation at the Jerusalem Center for Independent Living.

I have participated in various projects of Rabbis for Human Rights and Seeds of Peace, and I serve on the Steering Committee of the Sulha Peace Project, which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for Listening Circles. Instead of discussing positions, which so often leads to arguments and conflict, in Sulha we share personal experiences and feelings, creating bonds of empathy and affection. Living in Jerusalem, I feel that by simply smiling, making friendly eye contact, and saying a few Arabic words of greeting to Palestinians on the street and on public transportation, I can bring some Light into this polarized city every day.

For the past 7 years I have served various North American communities as Rabbi and/or Cantor for the High Holidays. I look forward to being with you – both those of you whom I met two years ago, and those whom I did not meet — during the Days of Awe, which are just around the corner.

Rabbi Amita Jarmon