'Ask a rabbi' booth pops up in San Francisco - Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews

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Less than third of half a million Jews live in San Francisco Bay Area are affiliated with synagogue Photo; MCT
Less than third of half a million Jews live in San Francisco Bay Area are affiliated with synagogue Photo; MCT

'Ask a rabbi' booth pops up in San Francisco

New initiative at Contemporary Jewish Museum aims to reach out to young Jewish adults who are unaffiliated with a synagogue

Published: 08.18.13, 07:21 / Israel Jewish Scene

VIDEO – If you’ve got a question for a rabbi, or if you’re simply looking for advise, you may be tempted to Google "ask a rabbi," where you’ll turn up dozens of answers.


Non-profit organization Reboot offered a more personal option recently – an Ask a Rabbi Booth at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum.


Video courtesy of jn1.tv


Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan is taking the first turn in the hot seat at the Ask A Rabbi Booth. The question comes from a magic eight ball, but his answer comes from the heart.


Most of the questions are liturgical rather than personal.


Rabbi Carla Fenves is used to fielding one particular personal question about herself – being a female rabbi.


"The short answer is that there haven’t really been female rabbis ordained. It’s a kind of verb we use when someone is made a rabbi. The first female rabbi was in the 1970s," she says.


Hunger for human contact

The Ask A Rabbi Booth is an effort to reach out to young adults who are unaffiliated with a synagogue or a temple. My own question for Rabbi Mark Bloom was about the value of a gimmick like this booth.


"I think it’s absolutely true people look to their computers," he says. "I mean, they can. Rabbi Google has far more answers than I can provide factually. A lot of people are still too lazy to look them up there. But I think also it’s just a hunger for a human contact and a human face."


Nearly half a million Jews live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and less than a third of them are affiliated with a synagogue.


But for Bay Area Jews who don’t have ready access to a rabbi, and who are interested in the personal touch rather than an electronic experience, the Ask A Rabbi Booth may provide a very good answer.



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