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Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Louis A. Rieser came to Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry in 1997. He previously served for 7 years as a Hillel director at Ohio University and at Emory University, and for 14 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Greenfield, Ma. A graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he takes a broad approach to Jewish life. 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.

Rabbi Rieser has taken leadership positions in a variety of Jewish organizations. He served on the board of the National Havurah Committee and in the Conference for Judaism in Rural New England and has been a long time teacher at their retreats and conferences. Both organizations serve individuals from all sectors of Jewish life and encourage individual participation in prayer and study. Rabbi Rieser also serves as an officer in the Northeast Region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He held the presidency for the years 2001-2003, and then moved onto the national board of the CCAR for the years 2003-2005. He is currently a member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester.

He has also taken a leadership role in community affairs. Most recently he was the president of the Middle Ground Student Lounge in Derry, NH. The Lounge served as a drop-in after school program for middle school students. Rabbi Rieser helped design and co-led the first New Hampshire Jewish-Catholic Seder in March, 2002, co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, and the Center for Christian Jewish Learning at Boston College.

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 athttp://www.maqom.com/journal/journal.html. His most recent article appeared in the Fall, 2003 issue of the CCAR Journal. A link to that article is provided here. He is also a book reviewer for Church and Synagogue Library Review. Among the topics he has taught at retreats are:

  • The Demon’s Lawsuit: Justice and Human Boundaries
  • In Search of Hametz: A Passover Puzzle
  • The Next Journey: Death, Dying and the Afterlife
  • Sin Crouches at the Door: Cain and the Legacy of Male Violence
  • Classical Spin: The Biblical Commentary of Rashi and Nachmanides

Rabbi Rieser opens Friday evening services with text study. A sampling of the texts, with commentary can be found here. Texts of selected sermons can be found here.

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.

You can contact Rabbi Rieser at: rabbiemeritus@etzhayim.org