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Voices of the Eruv
Rabbi Chaim Goldberger is the former leader of Congregation Kenesseth Israel. He led the congregation for over fourteen years. Before coming to Kenesseth Israel he served as rabbi at Montefiore Synagogue, an Orthodox congregation located in Lowell, Massachusetts. Jacob spoke with Rabbi Goldberger at an early stage in his research, and he wanted to talk with him to get an overview of what his congregation has to offer and about its role in the community. He had a short conversation with Rabbi Goldberger in his office at Kenesseth Israel.
Rabbi Barry Woolf serves as the rabbi at a Jewish funeral home. He has lived in the Twin Cities area since 1973, living in St. Paul for seven years before moving to St. Louis Park. He is the former Jewish chaplain for the Minnesota State Hospitals and Prisons and has worked at the Hazelden Rehabilitation Center for Alcohol and Drugs. He also headed Sharei Chesed, an Orthodox congregation in Minnetonka. He currently works at a Jewish funeral home and has lectured at many congregations and schools in the Twin Cities area. Rabbi Woolf is a congregant at Bais Yisroel. He is originally from London, where he was ordained as a rabbi. Jacob met Rabbi Woolf at a service he attended at Kenesseth Israel, and he wanted to speak with him because he thought it would be beneficial to talk with someone who had been a part of the community for a long time and who could tell him about how it has changed over the last few decades. Rabbi Woolf and Jacob had a lengthy conversation at a Starbucks located within the eruv, during which they also discussed his views on secular culture and intermarriage as issues within the Jewish community.
Allan Baumgarten is one of the founders and leaders of Eruv of Minnesota, the group which put together and currently manages the eruv in St. Louis Park. This is a volunteer position; he works as a research consultant on health care issues. Allan is a congregant at Darchei Noam. Jacob and he spoke at a Starbucks within the eruv and had a long conversation detailing the creation and day-to-day maintenance of the eruv, as well as talking about his personal feelings about his community and about Darchei Noam.
Rabbi Yaakov Rabinowitz is the dean of Torah Academy, an Orthodox school within the eruv for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. He took this position in 2010 and moved to the Twin Cities; previously he served at a Jewish high school in Toronto, Ontario. Jacob spoke briefly with Rabbi Rabinowitz at his office at Torah Academy. As the dean of the oldest Jewish school in the area, Jacob thought that Rabbi Rabinowitz would have a unique perspective on what growing up in the eruv is like and about relationships between people from different congregations, many of whom send their children to Torah Academy.
Wendy Goldberg is a resident of the eruv who is active in two synagogues outside the eruv. She has lived in the eruv for almost eight years, though she does not follow the strict laws that necessitate living in an eruv. Jacob's conversation with Wendy took place at her home. Jacob wanted to speak with her because he wanted to learn more about the community from the perspective of someone who does not observe the strict laws that make an eruv necessary and to learn more about the non-Orthodox communities in the eruv in general.
Marcie Murray is a longtime resident of St. Louis Park, and a member of the Bais Yisroel Congregation, where she also works as the secretary for the Synagogue. Murray raised her three children within the eruv and became religious while living in St. Louis Park. Maya and Maggie interviewed her about her faith and experiences at Vitali's Kosher Deli.
Avrom and Freida* are secularly Jewish siblings who grew up in St. Louis Park in the 60's. They moved with their parents from North Minneapolis to St. Louis Park as young children, following a trend of Jews migrating to the suburbs. Both raised their kids in St. Louis Park outside of the eruv, though Frieda has since moved to South Minneapolis. Maya spoke with them at length at the Starbucks within the eruv about the anti-Semitism they experienced growing up, their personal feelings about identifying as Jewish, and their perceptions of the relationships between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews since the creation of the eruv.
Elliot is Avrom's son and grew up in St. Louis Park, where he attended St. Louis Park High School. At the time of the interview, he was a Freshman at Carleton College. Though he identifies as Jewish, he does not attend synagogue and was not Bar Mitzvahed. In contrast with Avrom and Freida, Maggie and Maya thought Elliot could share about the current experience being secularly Jewish in St. Louis Park. They also wanted to speak to him to understand the different Jewish identities, especially how the less religious Jews of St. Louis Park compare and contrast with the Orthodox Jews of the Eruv. Maggie and Maya interviewed him at Carleton College.
Susan Palchick and Tom Silver are both doctors and congregants of Darchei Noam. Dr. Palchick is also the Treasurer of the Eruv committee and was instrumental in raising funds and gaining support for the creation of the eruv. Maggie and Maya met with them when they visited services at Darchei Noam. In addition to offering their perspective on the importance of the eruv and sharing stories about how it has affected the Orthodox community, Dr. Palchick and Dr. Silver also walked Maggie and Maya through the eruv, pointing out the boundaries.
Debbie* Is a resident of St. Louis Park who attends services at both Darchei Noam and Beth El Synagogues. She spoke to Maggie and Maya during and after Passover services at Darchei Noam about her relationship with Judaism, the St. Louis Park community, and her experiences growing up Jewish and raising Jewish children in Minnesota.
Marcia Zimmerman is the senior rabbi at Temple Israel, a reform temple located in the heart of Minneapolis, that serves many of St. Louis Park's reform Jews. She was hired in 1988, and became the senior rabbi in 2001, becoming the first woman senior rabbi of a congregation over 2,000 people. Maya spoke with her briefly through video chat. Maggie and Maya thought Rabbi Zimmerman could give an outsiders perspective on the Jewish community of St. Louis Park, as well as provide insight on why a reform synagogue has not moved to the eruv.
* Freida and Debbie are both pseudonyms