Rabbi Abby Michaleski, spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation in Vineland, has been elected by the South Jersey Board of Rabbis and Cantors (SJBRC) as the organization’s new president.
A member of SJBRC since 2018, Rabbi Michaleski follows Rabbi Gerald Fox, former president of the Board of Rabbis who is currently the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom in Brigantine.
The Board holds regular meetings to discuss matters of importance to the Jewish community as well as its involvement in a number of community programs.
Rabbi Michaleski has served as rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation since June 2018. She has brought her joyful and creative approach to Judaism into her services and teaching, as well as into the Vineland Jewish community.
Rabbi Michaleski received ordination in 2015 from ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal, previously earning a master’s degree in Jewish Studies from Gratz College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University. Prior to ordination she had worked as a Jewish Communal Professional in the South Jersey area since 1998 while serving as the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Hammonton for 14 years. She is also a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) specializing in the treatment of substance use disorders for over 30 years. Her long-term desire to integrate Judaism, healing and wellness led her to co-found RAPHA—The Center for Healing and Spirituality—in 2018.
Since coming to Vineland, she has become an active member of the Chevra Kadisha (Sacred Society), helping to expand its ability to address end of life issues in the South Jersey Jewish community. She is a member of the Association of Rabbis and Cantors for Jewish Renewal (OHALAH), T’ruah, The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Cumberland County Mental Health and Addictions Board and the National Association of Addiction Professionals. A former member of the Hammonton Ministerium and the Vineland Ministerial Fellowship, she hopes to continue building bridges between communities with a newly forming Inter-faith group of South Jersey progressive clergy.
Of her new leadership position, Rabbi Michaleski said, “Being president of the South Jersey Board of Rabbis and Cantors is certainly an honor and privilege, as well as an opportunity to help strengthen Jewish life in the South Jersey region. Working together and supporting each other, as colleagues and communities from different Jewish backgrounds, is critical during these challenging times.
“As the board has widened its reach into Cumberland County, adding to its traditional foundation covering Atlantic and Cape May counties, I know we can continue to create further opportunities for inclusion and support. I look forward to deepening our connections within our Jewish world and to build bridges with those who are not Jewish.”