New Jew to Town: TCJewfolk Interviews Rabbi Jennifer Gertman

Temple Israel, the hip Minneapolis reform synagogue famous for their inclusivity, activism, and rockin’ Purim parties, recently hired a new Assistant Rabbi, Jennifer Gertman.  We thought you’d like to “meet” her, so asked Rabbi Gertman a few questions about her background, her new job, and why Minneapolis is so much cooler than Cleveland….

Q: When did you start working at Temple Israel?
A: I started working here July 1st.
Q:How does Minneapolis compare to Cleveland? Which is cooler?
A:Minneapolis and Cleveland are similar in that they are big cities with a small town feel – everyone knows each other! They both have lots of culture, sports teams and beautiful, albeit much too short, summers. As to which is cooler, they both have their virtues!
Q: What was it like studying to be a rabbi in Israel?
A: Study to be a rabbi in Israel has its challenges. I loved my program and living in Jerusalem, but few Israelis understood that a woman could be a rabbi. Taxi drivers freely shared their dismay about my chosen vocation!
Q: After you became a rabbi, you got your Masters in Jewish Ed – why?
A: I actually started my Masters in Jewish Education during rabbinical school and took an extra year to finish the degree. To me, rabbis are first and foremost teachers. We teach both formally and informally; in classrooms, from the Bema and in daily interactions. I wanted to ensure that I had the knowledge to do this as best as possible.
Q: Tell me more about your passion for Jewish education.
A: What can I say…I love being Jewish and I want others to know how great it is!
Q: What’s a day in the life of Rabbi Gertman at Temple Israel?
A: Every day is different, which is one of the things I love about this profession. I get to spend time with amazing people, teach, write, speak and continue to learn!
Q: What are you looking forward to most about being a rabbi at Temple Israel?
A: I am greatly looking forward to continuing to learn from my amazing colleagues. I feel so lucky to be working with such talented, compassionate, fun loving people.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers of TCJewfolk?
A: I am very excited to be a part of the Minneapolis Jewish community!