There’s a brand new guitar-playing rabbi within the Queen Metropolis.
Rabbi Sam Weiss, 31, took over the religious management of Congregation Beth El, the Reform synagogue on French Road in Bangor, on July 1.
Weiss replaces Rabbi Emerita Darah Lerner, who retired final month after serving the neighborhood for 17 years. Lerner was affectionately often called “the” rabbi of Bangor, regardless of there being two or three different rabbis on the town throughout her tenure.
“Rabbi Lerner has been extremely type and supportive throughout the transition,” Weiss stated Thursday. “It’s clear she is liable for the novel welcome this congregation expresses, which makes it inclusive for all no matter their backgrounds.”
Lerner, now 62, changed Rabbi Larry Milder, often called the singing rabbi. Milder went on to put in writing and report Jewish themed songs. He typically performed his guitar and sang throughout providers. Weiss’ guitar on Thursday rested on a chair towards the again of the worship space within the shul. He might be “happening tour” this summer season to Down East Maine to satisfy congregants who reside exterior Larger Bangor.
Weiss’ predecessor, Lerner, was instrumental in bringing collectively Jews, Muslims, Catholics, mainline Protestants and evangelicals for occasions such because the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults and a 2018 service to acknowledge that the opioid epidemic has left the neighborhood wounded and to hope for therapeutic.
Beth El’s new rabbi stated Thursday that he and the congregation are dedicated to persevering with that work.
“We wish to proceed that interfaith dialogue and construct genuine bridges between religion communities,” Weiss stated.
Weiss grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, and attended a Reform synagogue there. He was excited about enjoying music, not about attending rabbinical faculty.
“Different folks noticed a rabbi in me however I didn’t see one,” he stated.
It was “a disaster of objective” in his mid-20s, after he’d earned an undergraduate diploma from the College of California Berkeley that led Weiss to fulfill his curiosity about Judaism. That led him to rabbinical faculty and Weiss was ordained in Could, three months after he was employed by Beth El.
“This congregation appeared like an apparent match for me,” he stated. “I used to be energized by them and felt very snug right here. There’s a ‘do it your self’ ethic right here that felt very acquainted to me from my years enjoying with bands in bars, eating places and small halls.”
Synagogue President Melinda Wentworth described Weiss as “younger, astute and compassionate.” She stated Thursday that she is hopeful that having a younger rabbi with a household will entice younger households to the growing old congregation.
“We’re wanting ahead to being on this religious journey with Rabbi Weiss,” Wentworth stated.
Rabbi Invoice Siemers of Congregation Beth Israel, the Conservative synagogue on York Road in Bangor, additionally performs the guitar. Siemers stated Thursday that he anticipates there might be rabbinical jam periods.
Weiss, whose mother and father now reside in York, stated that throughout the interview course of, Beth El’s congregants have been fascinated to be taught that Weiss’ maternal grandfather Ted Brother managed a now-defunct tannery in Dover-Foxcroft, he stated.
Now a resident of Naples, Florida, Brother spent the week in Piscataquis County, then headed again to Andover for weekends whereas Weiss’ mom was rising up. The tannery bought leather-based to Dexter Shoe and different shoemaking corporations, Weiss stated.
Along with graduating from the New York Campus of the Hebrew Union School-Jewish Institute of Faith, being ordained and getting the job at Beth E over the previous yr, Weiss obtained married in York, Maine, in September. On Feb. 22, he and his spouse Erin welcomed their first little one, Milo. The household lives in Bangor.