Rabbi Dr. Geoffrey J. Haber

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Rabbi Dr. Geoffrey J. Haber
BA, BA, MA, DMin
AAPC, CASC, NAJC

ghaber@baycrest.org

geoff.jpg

Profile

I am a dynamic, personable and highly educated professional with extensive experience in chaplaincy and the congregational rabbinate. Pastoral care, education and community building are central to my rabbinate, which enables me to recognize and respond to the unique needs of the multiple and diverse populations I serve. Through various modalities, I encourage individuals to explore Judaism and their own Jewish-spiritual identities. Actively involved with the youth of my congregations, I use costumes, theater arts, music, stories, games and discussions to engage children from pre-schoolers to teens. Together with my wife and family, our home is a place for celebration, friendly gatherings, prayer and informal learning.

Religious Life Highlights

  Presented an approachable model of a rabbi through an open home policy, creative teaching, counseling, modeling Jewish life and support during life cycle events that led to rise in congregants’ personal spiritual practice.

 

  Developed partnerships with congregational committees to diversify religious, educational and social activities that led to greater congregant involvement in synagogue programs, services and events.

 

  Initiated and guided a Tefila Task Force to articulate a vision statement about worship for our temple and implement meaningful changes to the Shabbat morning worship service to make it more spiritually relevant for congregants.

 

  Launched a music-filled Qabbalat Shabbat service featuring contemporary and traditional music accompanied by live instrumental music and played percussion as part of the “Rhythm and Jews Band.” Attendance averaged 220-270; a tenfold increase from previous Friday night attendance.

 

  Introduced new High Holy Day Mahzor, Shabbat Siddur, Daily Siddur and Bible that made worship and study more accessible and meaningful to congregants and visitors.

 

  Produced “Call Shabbat a Delight” Enhancement programs that won national and regional Gold Solomon Schechter Awards.

 

   Initiated “Qabbalah [Spirituality] of Welcoming” program to enhance friendliness of and accessibility to the congregation.

 

  Inaugurated annual “Open Sukkah” with more than 300 congregants attending.

 

   Created meaningful memorial/yizkor services as well as commemorations honoring Holocaust survivors, veterans and volunteers.

 

Spiritual Care Highlights

   Conducted support groups for grief, cancer sufferers and parents of children with disabilities that enabled congregants to find spiritual meaning in their lives and closer bonds to the congregation.

 

   Consulted Jewish and non-Jewish religious institutions about incorporating children and adults with special needs and their families into their faith communities.

 

   Advocated for and achieved accessibility and registered my congregation with the National Organization for Disabilities; facilitated Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies for children with special needs.

 

   Formed Spiritual Planning Committee to determine congregation vision and mission that enhanced the spiritual, ritual and religious life of the congregation.

 

   Established Jewish Parenting Program and Jewish Parenting Resource Center that provided families with Jewish content and context for raising their children which led to stronger family and synagogue connections.

 

  Authored series of life cycle pamphlets and proposals on all aspects of synagogue programming.

 

   Initiated pastoral visits to the infirmed and hospitalized members of the congregation as well as regular pastoral calls to homebound elderly. Created Biqqur Holim/Caring Committee that enhanced congregant to congregant relationships and strengthened bonds to synagogue.

 

   Established Hesed (Caring), Tiqqun Olam (Social Action) and Ayin LeZion (Israel Affairs) committees as important articulations of our synagogue’s values.

 

Education Highlights

   Aided rebuilding of youth program and oversaw its growth by working with Youth Director and advisors; led our "Tallit and Tefillin Club" with support from Education Director and School Committee. Taught “Rappin’ with the Rabbi,” “My Mitzvah,” and “Sidrah Study.”

 

  Created diverse Adult Education programs that won national and regional Solomon Schechter Awards and created partnership in learning with the Florence Melton Adult School and served as Master Teacher, Florence Melton Adult School, Bergen County, NJ, 2000-2007.

 

  Supported and helped start Early Childhood Education Center that led to increased membership in congregation by young families.

 

  Implemented Learners’ Service, Haverim Family Service and “Gan Shabbat” Toddler Program.

 

 Revitalized Kadima/USY (Awarded "Chapter of the Year") and established Boy Scout Troop #613.

 

  Initiated curriculum review for Religious School and taught Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes.

 

  Developed B’nai Torah Hebrew High School program and Involved in obtaining $15,000 grant for the development of a Senior Adult Center.

 

  Created adult education programs such as Doctors/Lawyers Roundtable, Women’s Rosh Hodesh Study Group and holiday celebrations such as Tu B’Shevat Seder and Layl Tikkun Shavuot.

 

Social Action-Tiqqun Olam Highlights

  Created annual Mitzvah Day event that engaged more than 150 families & singles in social action.

 

   Participated as congregation in annual “Walk Far for NAAR” autism awareness; raised $10,000.

 

  Coordinated delivery of Passover meals to homebound elderly with Jewish Family Services.

 

  Conducted synagogue-wide High Holy Day food drive for Project Isaiah.

 

  Provided volunteers to staff soup kitchen for the hungry at Greater Boston Food Bank.

 

  Created Mitzvah Menschen group to blow shofar, shake lulav and etrog, light menorot for Jewish hospital patients and arranged for delivery of simha flowers (and a smile) to hospital patients.

 

 Collected toys at Hanukkah Fair for state-wide "Toys for Tots" program.

 

  Conducted annual winter coat drive to provide warmth for New York City's homeless.

 

  Promoted and contributed to Jewish War Veteran’s “Socks for Homeless Vets” campaign.

Community Highlights

  Revitalized Sisterhood and Men’s Club and revived Northern Valley Clergy Association.

 

  Fostered partnership with The Jewish Theological Seminary to create a Young Leadership cadre of members and with AIPAC to strengthen ties with Israel and the political process of Democracy. Sent the largest per capital attendance from New England to AIPAC annual conference.

 

  Chaired planning committee for the 41st Annual Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemoration.

 

  Active in annual community ecumenical Thanksgiving service and served as host location.

 

  Lectured and taught widely to community and service organizations, schools and interfaith groups.

 

  Contributed articles and interviews to local and regional Jewish and general press, radio and TV.

Work History

2012-Current

Director, Spiritual Care

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Health, Toronto, Canada.

2010-2012
Hospice Chaplain
Hospice of the North Shore & Greater Boston, Wellesley, MA.
2007-2010
Senior Rabbi
Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Chestnut Hill, MA.
1996-2007
Rabbi
Temple Emanu-El, Englewood-Closter, NJ.
1992-1996
Rabbi
Beth Tzedec Congregation, Calgary, Canada
1989-1992
Rabbi
Congregation Shaare Tikvah, Chicago, IL.

1986-1989

Assistant Rabbi

Highland Park Conservative Temple & Center, Highland Park, NJ.

Selected Community Associations

Board Member

Canadian Association for Spiritual Care, Central Ontario Region, Canada.

Chaplain
Jewish Chaplains Council of Massachusetts, Newton Center, MA.
Lieutenant
US Navy Reserve Chaplains Corps, NOSC New York City, NY.
President
North Jersey Board of Rabbis (Vice President, 1997-2001), Teaneck, NJ.
Council Member
AIPAC National Council, Washington, DC.
Board Member
Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, Newton, MA.
Board Member
Newton Clergy Association, Newton, MA.
Board Member
World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues, New York, NY.
Member
American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Fairfax, VA.
Member
National Association of Jewish Chaplains, Whippany, NJ.
Member
Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, West Newton, MA.
Member
Rabbinical Assembly (Nomination Committee 1997-1998; Membership Committee 1998-2005), New York, NY.

Education

Rabbi, MA, BA "with distinction," The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY.
  • Sarah and Morris Rosenberg Prize in Philosophy
  • Alexander Lamport Prize in Talmud
  • Harry Goldstein Award in Talmud
  • Sarah Barcan Scoffin Memorial Award
  • Dr. Bernard Samson and Mrs. Sara Bluma Samson Levinthal Memorial Award.
  • Dean's List
DMin, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, NY.
 
BA, cum laude, Columbia University, New York, NY.
  • International Youth in Achievement Award
  • National Dean's List
  • Dean's List
 

Certifications

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) 1 Unit, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2013.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) 2 Units, Hebrew Senior Life, Boston, MA, 2011-2012.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) 1 Unit, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston, MA, 2010.
Executive Management, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, CA, 2010.
Pastoal Counseling, Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, New York, NY, 2005.
Disaster Chaplaincy Training, Disaster Chaplaincy Services, New York, NY, 2005.
Identifying Child Abuse & Domestic Violence, New York, State DYFS, New York, NY, 2004.
Short Term Crisis Intervention, Council of Churches of NYC, New York, NY, 2004.
Rav HaMakhshir, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY, 2002.
Pastoral Care, Calgary District Hospital Group, Calgary, Canada, 1994.

Honors

Who's Who in the World, 27th Edition, Marquis Publications, New Providence, NJ, 2010.
Who's Who in America, 62nd Edition, Marquis Publications, New Providence, NJ, 2008.
Letter of Commendation, Jewish Education Services, UJA, River Edge, NJ, 2005.
Distinguished Service Citation, Women's American ORT, Englewood, NJ, 1998.
Dedicated Service Award, Calgary Rabbinical Council, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 1996.