Beth Israel, the Jewish Congregation of Sun City Center, has appointed Rabbi Carla Freedman as its new spiritual leader. She is the first full-time rabbi to serve Beth Israel and will begin July 1.
Freedman, 68, was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She was the first Canadian woman to be ordained a rabbi at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1990.
From 1990 to 1997, she served at Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh, N.Y., until her current appointment to the Jewish Family Congregation in South Salem, N.Y.
"I consider it a remarkable privilege to walk with people, individually and as families through the challenges that life can present," said Freedman. "These opportunities have afforded me some of the most satisfying experiences of my rabbinate."
Freedman visited with the congregation earlier this year. They were impressed with her knowledge, spirituality and ease in relation to members.
"It is with extreme pleasure that we welcome our new rabbi to our family," said Ellen Stein, president of Beth Israel. "She comes to us with her own combination of talent, knowledge and love of Judaism. We are anxious to learn more of the beauty of our heritage and look forward to the new chapter ahead."
Freedman believes a faith community expands one's social network, increases healthy behavior and reduces stress.
"The key is not on-paper affiliation but rather in-person involvement," Freedman said. "I am looking forward to the many activities we will undertake together: worshiping, learning and fulfilling Jewish values. These elements will enrich our experiences and enhance our lives."
Lorianne De Loreto is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.