Great Neck rabbis sign 10-year contract with Temple Beth-El

Great Neck rabbis sign 10-year contract with Temple Beth-El
Rabbis Meir and Tara Feldman were recently signed onto a 10-year contract with Temple Beth-El. (Photos courtesy of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck)

Senior Rabbis Meir and Tara Feldman will be at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck for at least another 10 years, according to their recently signed contract, following eight years of spiritual leadership at the temple.

The Feldmans, while having differing views on specifics on where the temple should go, both have focused on the power of positive interactions between people and relationships. They also expressed the importance of community, kindness and equality among congregants.

During their tenure, Temple Beth-El has embarked on interfaith programs such as the annual Interfaith Seder, Thanksgiving dinners and supporting the Islamic Center of Long Island to build relationships and tolerance.

Temple Beth-El also started the “Small Groups with Purpose” initiative. Rabbi Tara Feldman pioneered the idea to bring people together in “micro communities,” temple representatives said, and keep them from disconnecting from society.

Tara Feldman also helped start the Jewish Yoga School.

Meir Feldman was once an associate for a prestigious Wall Street law firm, according to his online biography, and then a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, with Judaism taking a backseat.

But in his late 30s he took a break from his legal career, participating in Shabbat, reading the works of Jewish philosophers Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel, his biography said. He then visited Israel with friends and found mentors in David Wolpe and Danny Gordis.

He would later attend Hebrew Union College, serve as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbanic Fellow at the Upper West Side’s B’Nai Jeshurun, and serve as an Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis until January 2008.

Meir and Tara Feldman ultimately joined Temple Beth-El in July 2009.

In his biography, Meir Feldman described Temple Beth-El as a place for people exploring the “big questions” in life, like what they believe and what their mission is, as well as a place to “deepen your joy and provide others with genuine support.”

“Our temple is also the place where we come together to make a difference in the world, to receive the gift of feeding hungry people, to feel the privilege of helping children learn to read, to speak out, in an organized and compelling way, about injustices and social causes that are at the core of Jewish living and learning,” Feldman said.

Rabbi Tara Feldman earned a Bachelor’s in Russian language and Literature from Vassar College, a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Lesley College, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2001.

She was previously a rabbi educator at Congregation Beth-Elohim in Brooklyn, associate rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis, Tenn., and a Fellow at Hebrew University’s Melton Senior Educators program in Jerusalem.

Now, the Feldmans said they look forward to their next chapter.

“For the last eight years, we tilled the soil and sowed the seeds,” Rabbi Tara Feldman said, comparing the temple to a garden. “Now for the next years, we make it bloom.”

Rabbis Tara and Meir Feldman are currently in Israel, along with 30 other congregants, according to the temple’s Facebook page.

The approval of the contract follows the addition of Assistant Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum and Cantor Vladimir Lapin last year.


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