Rabbi’s Corner: Boots on the Ground in Israel – Meet Uri Feinberg

My connection with Uri Feinberg goes back to before he was even born: my father’s first position as a rabbi after he was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1966 was at Temple Har Sinai in Trenton, NJ. Uri’s father, Paul, grew up there and my father was his rabbi for a few years until Paul went off to college and then rabbinical school himself.

When I began rabbinical school in Jerusalem, Paul Feinberg already made aliyah to Israel with his family and was now the Associate Dean of HUC-JIR’s Jerusalem campus. He was now my rabbi. He remembered me from when I was five years old in New Jersey. And now Paul had his own young family – including a young son named Uri.

It seems as if my connections with Paul, Uri and their family are destined to remain strong. Uri is now a world-class Reform Movement Jewish educator and tour guide. He was 10 years old when he emigrated to Israel from the US. He grew up in Jerusalem, served in the IDF, and traveled the world. He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a master’s degree in Contemporary Jewish Studies. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in History and English Literature and has been a licensed tour guide since 2000. Uri’s greatest satisfaction in guiding trips in Israel and across the world is sharing the power and potential of travel to shape one’s life perspective. Uri enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and mountain biking. One of his daughters currently serves in the IDF in the Iron Dome unit for her regular army service. His older daughter is serving in the Army Reserves and has been called back to her base: also in the Iron Dome unit.

If the current war in Israel ends in enough time, Uri will be our Tour Educator for our Temple Beth Sholom trip to Israel in May. He is one of the very best!

I spoke to Uri today on the phone to see how he was doing. He began his day by driving one of his daughters back to her army base after a visit home. He then spent the rest of the day driving around the country, visiting army bases, delivering packages to soldiers, checking in to see how people were holding up. He’ll make it home in time for dinner.

I invited Uri to join us at TBS, over Zoom, so you can hear from someone with their “boots on the ground” in Israel. He’ll share his experiences, those of his daughters and family. We’ll have an opportunity for a Q & A.

We’ve also put together a series (some of which is still in process) as well as some sharing/listening sessions. Please mark your calendars, register online and save the dates:

1. “And You Shall Love With All Your Heart” – A Dialogue with One of Our Friends in Israel
How and what are Israelis in Israel feeling since October 7th?
What is everyday life like in Israel now?
How can we show our support and love from across the ocean?
Tuesday evening, November 14th
8 PM
Via Zoom
A Dialogue with Uri Feinberg and Rabbi Sharon Sobel, followed by Q & A

2. Building Bridges of Understanding: Invite a Non-Jewish Friend to Join You to Learn About Israel

(In person only)
Part I: The Jewish Historical, Spiritual & Emotional Connection to the Land
With Rabbi Sharon Sobel
Tuesday, November 28
7:15 PM

3. Building Bridges of Understanding: Invite a Non-Jewish Friend to Join You to Learn About Israel
(In person only)
Part II: Who is Hamas? What is Their Relationship to the Palestinians? What is their View on Israel?
With Rabbi Sharon Sobel
Sunday, December 3
7:15 PM

4. Panel Discussion (Save the date – tentative – subject to change)
The Expert Insider’s View on Israel
Wednesday, December 6th
8 pm
Zoom only

5. Our Senior School students will be planning and facilitating a Social Action Project for TBS geared to reaching out to our Israeli friends. Watch this space for more information!

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