Rabbi Peter Levy brings a vibrant sense of spirituality to Etz Hayim Synagogue. He combines modern music with traditional practice to create a welcoming worship experience that encourages participation by all.
His Jewish roots go back to the Long Island Federation of Temple Youth, a local region of NFTY. He was LIFTY song leader, a member of the Choir and Dance Caravan, and served on its Executive Board. It was this exposure to and experience in the formative years of modern Reform Judaism that provided the foundation for his growth as a Reform Jew.
His more recent experience, prior to ordination, includes many years as a lay leader at Central Synagogue of Nassau County, in Rockville Centre, New York, culminating in his tenure as President of the congregation from 2008 to 2010. Before entering rabbinic school, he served as a para-rabbinic and para-cantorial presence at several congregations around Long Island, Brooklyn, and in San Juan for over 20 years. In 2008, he entered the program for rabbinic studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion, in Yonkers, New York. Their trans-denominational program included a broad spectrum of studies in liturgy, theology, history, and rabbinics, and culminated in his ordination in May of 2014. His training incorporated elements of Conservative, Renewal, and Recontructionist Judaism, along with Reform Jewish practice.
All of this enables Rabbi Levy to provide a diverse and multi-faceted opportunity for people to create a personal connection to Judaism while becoming a part of an open, inclusive, and welcoming community.
Rabbi Louis A. Rieser came to Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry in 1997. Even though he recently retired in 2011 and moved south, he is still very connected to our community. In March of 2000, Rabbi Rieser was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree by Hebrew Union College, recognizing 25 years of service to the Reform Movement.
A recognized teacher of Jewish texts Rabbi Rieser has published in a variety of publications. He has written several articles based on his Talmud studies two which are published in the Maqom Journal which is on-line at http://www.maqom.com/journal/journal.html.
Rabbi Rieser is married to Connie Rieser, a nutritionist and ballroom dancer. He is learning the fine art of ballroom dance, though finds it at least as challenging as Talmudic study.
Previous Rabbi: Bryna Milkow
Founding Rabbi: Rabbi Bruce Diamond
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