About Jewish And...
Interpreting Jewish tradition through rationalist and mystical, reasonable and sensitive, egalitarian eyes - Rabbi Jonathan Freirich aims for an authentic Judaism infused with inclusion. Opening discussions of American Jewish existence - which is now interfaith, intercultural, inter-ethnic, pluralistic, pro-LGBTQ, and multi-generational. Every Jewish source - Torah, Midrash, Talmud, commentaries from every century, Kosher Culture, Israel, and more - can bring greater meaning to our vibrant Jewish lives. This is a place to be Jewish and everything else we are - Jewish and...
About Rabbi Jonathan Freirich
I believe Judaism should be welcoming, warm and fun. Every encounter is a chance to open a door and bring Jews and those who care about Jews into a world of greater meaning and connection. With a deep commitment to the dynamic and progressive history, culture, and religion of the Jewish people, I try to meet Jews where they are (whether that is on a hike, in a cafe, or the synagogue) and to give them access to Judaism's vibrant culture and ritual to bring meaning and understanding to our lives.
Originally from New York City, I received ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1999. I received a BA in Philosophy from Middlebury College in 1992. I lived and studied in Israel at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and WUJS in Arad, as well as volunteering at several kibbutzim, and at the Knesset. Since becoming a rabbi, I have worked with varied age groups and interests, including college students, unaffiliated Jewish 20- and 30-somethings, residents at a home for the aged, Jewish prisoners in a Nevada state prison, a small mountain resort congregation, a large Reform congregation in the dynamic South, and now the premier Jewish synagogue in Western New York.
In July 2016, I began serving as rabbi at Temple Beth Zion (tbz.org), in both downtown Buffalo and suburban Amherst, New York. I encourage you to stop by - It is truly one of the most exciting and welcoming places to be Jewish anywhere.
My family of origin is your typical complicated American family with lots of step-siblings and in-laws representing multiple religious and ethnic identities - what a blessing!
As an adult, I have had a wealth of interfaith experiences. I fell in love with and then later married a non-Jewish woman, Ginny Reel, who converted to Judaism and is a caring rebbitzen and a professional Jewish artist (see her work at ketubah-arts.com). We have a wonderful son, Jude, and an amazing daughter Sadie, with whom we learn to navigate through the complications of being empowered Jews in a non-Jewish world.