After 34 years, Jonathan Kligler is retiring as rabbi of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, which will be gathering to honor him for his years of service to the community on Sunday, June 12 from 12:30 to 4 p.m., outdoors, on the grounds of the shul. All are welcome, and are being asked to preregister at wjcshul.org. An optional donation will be requested.
This event, just north of Route 212 on Glasco Turnpike, will open with lawn games, crafts, music by Klezmer Berl’s Hotsie Totsie Orkester, dancing and lots of opportunities to thank Rabbi Jonathan personally for the many gifts his leadership has given to this extended community. Food provided by local eateries will be available for sale at the event; water will be provided without charge throughout the afternoon.
From 2 until 3:30 p.m., the program will feature a variety of speakers, group games, remarks by Rabbi Jonathan, music by Kim and Reggie Harris and a dance performance by Bill and Livia Vanaver. Desserts will be offered at no cost at 3:30 p.m., after the presentations and performances.
Rabbi Kligler has served as spiritual leader of Kehillat Lev Shalem, the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, since 1988. Over the years Rabbi Jonathan has overseen the growth of the congregation from a small once-a-month gathering into a thriving Jewish community with over 350 member families and thousands of friends and supporters. The synagogue is known throughout the Hudson Valley of New York and beyond for its welcoming and heart-opening atmosphere, innovative and inspiring approach to religious practice and great music.
Rabbi Jonathan is an accomplished singer and folk guitarist. He has recorded a number of CDs, most recently Let My People Go: A Jewish and African American Celebration of Freedom, a collaboration with African American folksingers Kim and Reggie Harris, and On Holy Ground: Music of the High Holy Days at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. He is also the author of two books, Hineni: Essays and Commentaries from 25 Years on the Bimah (Blue Thread, 2013) and Turn It and Turn It, for Everything Is in It: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion (Reconstructionist Press 2020), and continues to write and teach widely.
Rabbi Jonathan was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1989, and is a member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. In 2014 Rabbi Jonathan received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from his alma mater. Prior to his rabbinical training, Rabbi Jonathan was a professional dancer, mime and children’s performer, with a focus on improvisation. He lives in Woodstock with his wife Ellen Jahoda, a visual artist. They have two daughters, Timna and Nomi.
For more information about the celebration, the congregation or Rabbi Kligler, visit wjcshul.org or www.facebook.com/woodstock.jewish.congregation. Information is also available by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (845) 679-2218.