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Rabbi Emerita Melanie Aron

Phone: 408-358-1751

On January 1, 2021 I became the rabbi emerita of Congregation Shir Hadash after serving as the congregation’s rabbi since July 4 1990. It has been a wonderful experience, watching the congregation develop and grow and being with many families over generations. I am proud of our congregation’s focus on adults doing Jewish for themselves, whether that be through study, social justice or prayer, as well as support for families raising Jewish children.

Over the years we added Shabbat morning services on weeks when there were no Bar or Bat Mitzvahs and then our Shir Shabbat alternative lay lead Shabbat morning service which has been held from Simchat Torah through Shavuot each year. Along with the High Holy Days, Simchat Torah and Purim are typically well attended services, and we have outdoor services several times a year, on our grounds and at local parks.

Our social action service projects expanded through the years to include not only Mitzvah Day, summer back pack drives, winter meals for the homeless and blood drives, but also an annual Health Fair for underserved communities. About a decade ago we began work in community organizing and joined People Acting in Community Together a local interfaith advocacy group. Our Shir Hadash Organizing Committee has focused on expanding health care coverage, transportation for older adults, gun violence prevention, and most recently on combatting Anti-Semitism and Hate. We have participated in local sanctuary efforts and been part of the community’s rapid response team. Along the way we have had a series of environmental efforts, including early adoption and then expansion of solar panels, led by our members in what is currently called our sustainability group.

Adult learning has included ongoing classes and special lectures, Adult Bnai Mitzvah and weekend retreats. A variety of topics and modalities allow our members to choose what works best for them. Typically Torah study and Introduction to Judaism are offered weekly every year and our book discussion group meets 4 or 5 times a year.

Over the years I worked with our Temple educators and participated in our Tefillah program for the Sunday school and Hebrew school and taught the Confirmation class. Together with the Cantor, we prepared students for Bar and Bat Mitzvah and in recent years it has been fun telling a story to our preschoolers on Friday mornings.

The role of the emerita in congregations can be flexible and is coordinated with the senior rabbi at the time. I look forward to being of service in ways that are congruent with the congregation’s goals going forward.

Education and Training

  • Trained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati as well as the New York campus.
  • Ordained in 1981.

Prior to ordination, I spent a year as a rabbinic intern in San Antonio Texas. After ordination, I served as the Assistant Rabbi/Educator in Morristown, New Jersey. Immediately before coming to Congregation Shir Hadash, I served a small congregation in Brooklyn New York as a solo rabbi for five years.

Background/Personal Information

Raised in New York and Cincinnati, my family was involved in the Conservative movement and I attended Jewish day school through 8th grade. Being part of a participatory Havurah-style congregation when I was in high school encouraged my interest in Judaism. Meeting faculty members from the Reform movement’s seminary in Cincinnati influenced me towards Reform Judaism which I have found a better philosophical fit.

My husband and I have three adult children and one grandchild and look forward to spending more time with them in retirement.

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784