temple beth shalom

TBS welcomes back Rabbi Amita from Jerusalem to lead us in celebrating the High Holy Holidays this year. Below Rabbi Amita provides a bit of her history and background and she looks forward to seeing us again and meeting old friends and new. 

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

I had the pleasure of being your Cantor for the High Holidays in 2015, and even more pleasure in being your Rabbi-Cantor last year. I am looking forward to returning in just 20 days to be with you again as Rabbi-Cantor. I am writing to you from my mother's house in Amherst, Massachusetts.

A little bit about me:

  • I grew up in Amherst. 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 2009.

  • In these 9 years, I have worked as a physical therapist in 8 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 completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (450 hours)-- 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 8 years I have served various North American communities as Rabbi and/or Cantor for the High Holidays. I look forward to being with all of you -- those whom I have already met, and those whom I have not yet crossed paths with -- during the Days of Awe, which are just around the corner!

Rabbi Amita Jarmon