We are thrilled to announce that starting July 1, 2021, Rabbi Debra Rappaport, Rabbi Tamar Magill-Grimm, and Rabbi Lynn Liberman will become co-chairs of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association. We are grateful for Rabbi Rappaport’s terrific service as vice-chair, with the plan to step into this role. Rabbi David Thomas will assume the newly created position of treasurer. The combination of thoughtfulness, wisdom, and kindness of this team is exciting.
When we stepped into our role as MRA co-chairs in the Summer of 2018, we couldn’t imagine the story we would tell of our time. All we knew was the privilege to represent dozens of outstanding colleagues across movements, synagogues, and organizations and build on the MRA’s longstanding mission as “the moral and religious voice of the Minnesota Jewish community.”
MRA rabbis engage the major events of the day and build relationships with the people who experience them nearby and far away. Over the last three years, we think of the deadly attack at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Hanukkah stabbing in Monsey, and antisemitic school incidents locally. Where hate rose, we rose to confront it. The murder of George Floyd reignited what it meant to pursue justice in much-needed policy changes and in ways Jews of color feel visible, or not, in the Minnesota Jewish community.
MRA rabbis spoke with rare unity and clarity about issues that often split communities, from standing in solidarity with Israelis fighting unilateral annexation to engaging a spectrum of political leaders in the US and Israel and important legislative priorities. Success didn’t always mean getting the outcome we wanted but it did mean staying true to our approach. We joined with our multifaith partners in times of despair, trying to listen when it was most important for others to lead, and strengthened the community through prayer, learning, and action.
MRA rabbis, no matter what, build relationships. Not in crisis or as transactions to get something done, but because relationships are at the core of who we are. Those have never been more important as MN state officials and other Jewish communities confronted Covid-19 and turned to the MRA as an example and for guidance. We will continue to support one another as we navigate the path to re-entry.
Anything we do as an organization is possible because of those relationships, our partnerships, and the extraordinary communities we call home, Adath Jeshurun Congregation and Bet Shalom Congregation. Many of our allies are leaders of institutions that define our remarkable Minnesota Jewish community. Some are unaffiliated, and still others are colleagues, friends, and neighbors of different backgrounds we turn to for collaboration.
The two of us have felt beyond fortunate to share the leadership of the MRA with one another. While we could not anticipate what would unfold, we sat in a coffee shop in early summer 2018 to map out the values we would prioritize. We tried to remain loyal to those as the issues, and our world, changed.
We’re excited for Rabbi Rappaport, Rabbi Magill-Grimm, Rabbi Liberman, and Rabbi Thomas and for the community to benefit from their leadership in the years to come.
Rabbi Jill Crimmings and Rabbi Aaron Weininger are two of the outgoing co-chairs of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association.