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2021 Arnie Sweet Scholar in Residence - Rabbi Ed Feinstein

2021 Arnie Sweet Scholar-In-Residence

Presented by: Janice & Dr. Art Weinberg,

Cindy & Dr. Mitch Moskowitz,

Cathy & Dr. Joel Brook



Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Rabbi Ed Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California and a lecturer at the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University.

Raised in the back of his parents’ bakery on the frontiers of the West San Fernando Valley, Ed graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Columbia University Teachers College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a rabbi and earned his doctorate in education.

Rabbi Feinstein is the author of five books. Tough Questions Jews Ask – A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life , (Jewish Lights, 2003),and Jews and Judaism in the Twenty-First Century (Jewish Lights, 2007), were both finalists for the National Jewish Book Award. Capturing the Moon (Behrman House, 2008) retells the best of classic and modern Jewish folktales. The Chutzpah Imperative, (Jewish Lights, 2014) traces the history of religious humanism in the Jewish tradition. In Pursuit of Godliness and a Living Judaism (Turner, 2020) , is an intellectual biography of his mentor, Rabbi Harold Schulweis.

Rabbi Feinstein served as the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas and Associate Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas. In 1990, he became Executive Director of Camp Ramah in California. He came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1993, and became its senior rabbi in 2005.

Rabbi Feinstein lives in the epicenter of the San Fernando Valley with his wife Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein. Nina was the second woman ordained a rabbi by the Conservative Movement. The Feinsteins are parents of three adult children (all married and employed!) and one small dog. Every Friday afternoon, Ed bakes brownies from a recipe revealed to his ancestors at Mount Sinai.

Rabbi Feinstein on his selection as Scholar for the 10th Anniversary of The Arnie Sweet Lecture Series and his deep connection to the Dallas Jewish community:

“I am honored to join Anshai Torah for the 10th Anniversary of The Arnie Sweet Lecture Series. I live in Los Angeles, but Dallas is still very close to my heart. In 1982, my wife, Nina, and I came to Dallas for our first position as a rabbi. We moved into our first home in Dallas. Our children were all born in Dallas (proud native Texans!) Every Sunday, I still root (and cry!) for the Cowboys. Most importantly, in Dallas, we found a warm, welcoming community. We found a Jewish community eager to learn and grow. We found friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

Among those friendships was a bond with Arnie and Janice Sweet and their family. Both Arnie and Janice were recognized community leaders, but they took an interest in a young rabbi and his family. On Sunday morning bike rides, Arnie would share his gentle wisdom and his deep insights. And on Thursday afternoons, we would study Talmud, and talk of everything affecting the Jewish world. These memories have propelled me in my rabbinate all these years. And I am truly honored to teach in Arnie's name.”

The Arnie Sweet Scholar-In-Residence program at Anshai Torah is held in memory of Arnie Sweet, who was a greatly admired leader of the Dallas Jewish community for many years. Previous Scholars have included Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, Rabbi Naomi Levy, David Makovsky, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rabbi Donniel Hartman, Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Yossi Klein Halevi, Dr. Daniel Gordis and Rabbi Bradley Artson.

From Rabbi Weinberg: “Whether teaching a class, delivering a sermon, or telling a story to children, his sharp wit keeps everyone guessing what he will say next. As he teaches, Rabbi Ed entertains, cajoles, and critiques. He is sure to tell a joke, relate a few stories, and make us all laugh and cry, in rapid succession....Clearly, he is one of the most gifted rabbis in the country. Rabbi Ed's sense of humor, coupled with his razor sharp intellect make him a dynamic speaker and thought provoking teacher who I can guarantee will provide a highly intellectual, and spirited, series of sessions.”

Rabbi Michael Kushnick oversees Anshai Torah's Adult Education Program. He shares his insight on the relevance of bringing back Rabbi Ed Feinstein as our 2021 Scholar in Residence.

“Our Jewish world rests on 3 pillars: Torah (study), Avodah (prayer) and Gemilut Chasidim (acts of loving kindness),” said Rabbi Michael Kushnick. “We try to fill our lives with all three.”

To help us fulfill our commitment to lifelong learning, Anshai Torah’s robust Adult Education program offers diverse learning opportunities – from year-long courses taught by Rabbi Weinberg and Rabbi Kushnick, to a weekend of intense learning via the Arnie Sweet Lecture Series, which brings leading scholars to our congregation, explained Rabbi Kushnick. This year’s Scholar In Residence is distinguished educator, author and speaker Rabbi Ed Feinstein.

“We have so many talented scholars around world and we are excited to bring in one of the best in Rabbi Feinstein,” said Rabbi Kushnick. “With the theme of She'hechiyanu –The Secrets of an Ever-Renewing People, Rabbi Feinstein will share his thoughts on the creative resilience of the Jewish people.”

Thu, April 15 2021 3 Iyyar 5781