When Adas Yeshurun synagogue was about to lose its rabbi in June to another congregation, Dr. Beryl Tanenbaum, synagogue president, starting asking questions.
Except for marrying couples, he found he and other lay leaders could conduct services, even for funerals.
Most synagogue members have been reading Hebrew since they were children and just "pitch in" when needed, he said. "We would prefer to have a rabbi, but we can make do until we do."
But members sought a trained rabbi for the High Holy Days - Rosh Hashana begins at sundown Friday and Yom Kippur starts at sundown Sunday, Sept. 15 - because those services "are a lot more complicated and a lot more in depth" than others, he said.
Philip Kirshner, a retired rabbi from Del Rey Beach, Fla., will lead the Rosh Hashana or Jewish New Year services for Adas Yeshurun, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. He will begin the Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, observance beginning at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.
Congregation Children of Israel chose a rabbinical student, Andrew L. Rosenkranz, as interim worship leader after its full-time rabbi left in August for another position.
Mr. Rosenkranz, a former attorney, will lead the Rosh Hashana service starting at 8:15 p.m. Friday and the Yom Kippur observance at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, then return every other week for as long as needed, according to Dr. Diane Solursh, a former Temple president.
Mr. Rosenkranz, who is midway through his studies at Hebrew Union College in New York, held his first service Aug. 23, she said. "He is very enthusiastic and excited about it. Obviously he wants to do a good job."
The congregation gave him an ovation at the conclusion of the service. "He gave a very interesting sermon, quite reflective. At the end, everybody applauded - that is a first - I never remembered any sermon being applauded before," she said. "He laughed. We laughed."
Mr. Rosenkranz studied Hebrew in Israel before deciding to enter rabbinical school, Dr. Solursh said. "The legal training doesn't hurt - he can think on his feet."
The search for a full-time rabbi for the temple, however, could be lengthy, she said. "It takes years to find the right person."
Dr. Tanenbaum said there are congregations throughout the United States looking for rabbis. Many rabbinical students want to teach or just study religion rather than lead congregations.
While there's more involved in running the synagogue day to day than covering services, Adas Yeshurun has been through many rabbis since it was chartered in 1891, said Dr. Tanenbaum, who remembers worshiping on Ellis Street before the congregation relocated on Johns Road.
"We will keep looking...We will stay around for a good long while."
HIGH HOLY DAYS
Rosh Hashana ushers in a time of deep reflection, penitence and seeking forgiveness from God and others. It culminates in Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and atonement.
Adas Yeshurun synagogue, 935 Johns Road, will hold Rosh Hashana services at 6:30 p.m. Friday with Shaharit at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, and Sunday, Sept. 8; and Kol Nidre will open Yom Kippur services at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15. For more information, call 733-9491.
Congregation Children of Israel, 3005 Walton Way Extension, will hold services for Rosh Hashana at 8:15 p.m. Friday with children's services at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, followed by a 10 a.m. service.
Kol Nidre will open the Yom Kippur observance at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.
For more information, call 736-3140.
Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.