PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ – Mercer County's largest Reform Jewish synagogue, Congregation Beth Chaim, announced on Wednesday that Rabbi Adena Blum will serve as the congregation's senior rabbi beginning on July 1. Blum joined the synagogue in 2014 and currently serves as the associate rabbi.
“We are thrilled to have Rabbi Blum lead Congregation Beth Chaim into the future,” said the synagogue’s president Ken Pogrob. “She is exactly what our congregation needs going forward. Her spiritual strength and warmth, commitment to her community, and dedication to social justice make her a wonderful fit for our congregation. We look forward to her leadership for many years to come.”
“I feel incredibly blessed for the opportunity to serve as Congregation Beth Chaim’s next senior rabbi,” said Blum. “I want to help ensure that this congregation is a place for all to assemble; a place where all are included and everyone feels valued. The Torah tells us that everyone in the assembly is considered of equal importance in God’s eyes. Every person, irrespective of age, gender or status matters.”
At Beth Chaim, Blum established an annual interfaith family Shabbat service to honor the fellow travelers in the congregation who are raising Jewish families. Because of her family history, Blum is sensitive to greater inclusion which led her to officiating interfaith weddings under certain circumstances and conditions.
“I want to welcome the fellow travelers in our midst and show appreciation for their contributions to our community,” she said.
Blum is the immediate past president of the Windsor Hightstown Area Ministerium and a member of the Religious Leaders of West Windsor. She also has partnered with the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton on interfaith dialogue programs. At Beth Chaim, Blum led the congregation’s transition to the Reform movement’s latest Shabbat and festival prayer book, Mishkan T’filah. She also restructured the b’nei mitzvah process to provide more engagement with families.
Ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York (HUC-JIR) in 2014, Blum received her Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Literature and Religious Education from HUC-JIR. She was mentored by Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia, who served Beth Chaim for 42 years before retiring.
“From the very beginning he gave me room to grow and learn as a rabbi,” she said. “He also taught me about the importance of humor, which can bring people together in a powerful way, alleviate tension, and keep us, as rabbis, grounded.”
A Lawrenceville native, Blum graduated from The Lawrenceville School and Brandeis University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and a minor in Religious Studies. Prior to her service at Congregation Beth Chaim, Blum acquired extensive experience and training serving as the rabbinic intern at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom and Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple.
She also served in a number of other Reform synagogues including a Hillel, two hospitals, two URJ summer camps, and several other institutions where she engaged in teaching, preaching, leading worship, and programming for people of all ages and stages. She is a faculty member at URJ Camp Harlam and is a member of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Outside the synagogue, Blum enjoys good food, traveling the world, and spending time with her husband Sean and sons Jonah and Ari.
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