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“Rabbi in residence” for Western Mass cathedral

“Rabbi in residence” for Western Mass cathedral

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts has released notice of a “historic” appointment by Bishop Doug Fisher and the Rev Tom Callard of Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield.

With the Rev. Tom Callard I am pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro as Christ Church Cathedral’s first “Rabbi in Residence” effective September 1. He will teach adult education classes, preach periodically at the Sunday liturgy and offer his wisdom on a host of social justice concerns.

Mark’s journey to the rabbinic ministry began at home in Toronto. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Intellectual History at York University, Mark attended the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati where he was ordained as a rabbi. He earned the  Doctor of Divinity degree from the same institution in 2002.

Mark retired June 30 from his ministry at Sinai Temple, Springfield where he served for twenty-seven years.  Many Springfield area clergy have attended the annual clergy day on Judaism at Sinai Temple – part of Mark’s strong commitment to interfaith engagement. As Rabbi Emeritus he comes to Christ Church Cathedral to begin a conversation about God – the Mystery at the root of all faiths. Tom Callard, Priest-in-Charge of our cathedral, spoke to the diocesan and cathedral staffs about having a “Rabbi in Residence.”  “I’m excited about this,” Tom said, “because I will be changed.”

I am excited, too.  It is a gift to have a  scholar of Mark’s caliber among us and as a conversation partner as we live in complex times as people of faith.  ברוך הבא, Mark.  Welcome! quotes Bishop Fisher on the appointment:

“Judaism is a unique expression of God’s love for the world. Our faith will be expanded by sharing life with Rabbi Mark and deepened as we learn more about the richness of this tradition,” said the Right Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts. …

“Christians and Jews share so much – a common father in Abraham, the Hebrew Scriptures, belief in a God who is both transcendent and within us, and a common challenge from the Prophets,” said Fisher when asked to elaborate further on the appointment.

“Jesus was Jewish and constantly quoted the Prophets. Rabbi Mark will expand our understanding of both Judaism and Christianity by his preaching and teaching.”

Rabbi Shapiro responded, also on MassLive,

“At the cathedral I anticipate a unique opportunity to teach and preach as well as see my own tradition from a new very rich perspective.”

The Anglican News Service also carries the story.

Featured image: Bishop Doug J. Fisher, Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro, and the Rev. Canon Tom Callard, Priest in Charge at Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield, MA


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Michael W. Murphy

Both of our communities love God.

This is a direction our church needs to go. In my own life I have spent a great deal of time learning from our Jewish brethren’s writing. We can learn a great deal from each other without trying to convert each other. Our preachers need to be respectful of each other and avoid the “teaching of contempt.” The start of that process is learning from each other.

MaryLou Scherer

Oy Vey !

JC Fisher

To paraphrase Freud, sometimes an “Oy Vey” is just an “Oy Vey”.

Gregory Orloff

“Oy vey!” is Yiddish for “Oh, woe!”

As in, “Oy vey iz mir” — “Oh, woe is me!”

As Mr. Allen noted, it is an expression of dismay, grief or exasperation.

So I’m not sure what Ms. Scherer’s usage of it could possibly mean in this context.

Philip B. Spivey

Mr. Orloff: As per your comment below, I failed to translate accurately. My regrets.

Gregory Orloff

And you’ve missed my point, Mr. Spivey. I too questioned the meaning of Ms. Scherer’s use of the expression “Oy, vey!” And nowhere did I imply any disapproval about the collaboration of a Jewish rabbi and an Episcopalian presbyter. In fact, I think it is rife with opportunities for mutual enrichment.

Philip B. Spivey

You’ve missed my point: I’m very clear about the meaning of the term. The maternal side of my family are Jews and I am familiar with Yiddish. What I questioned is it’s use, in this context, by someone who doesn’t (if that is the case) speak Yiddish.

And now it’s clear that if you’re going to express “woe” and disapproval about the collaboration of a Rabbi and an Episcopal priest, use of a Yiddish term can be seen as mocking and disrespectful. If you are unhappy about this union, by all means express your displeasure; it’s a free country. But please refrain from language, any language, that may appear derisive or distainful. As someone once said: ‘Write what you know’…anything else maybe difficult support.

David Allen

MaryLou, this is exclaimed for dismay or grief. You are indicating disapproval of this appointment.

Philip B. Spivey

I’m not sure of what to make of your use of the Yiddish expression,”Oy Vey!” in this context. Do you speak Yiddish?

If not, its use here is more than snarky.

Philip B. Spivey

A Judeo-Christian partnership under (God’s) one roof. How refreshing.

Rod Gillis

What an interesting and creative appointment! Thanks so much for posting this story.

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