When Moshe Rudin was twelve years old, growing up in a Boston suburb, he found a copy of Nathan Ausubel’s classic A Treasury of Jewish Folklore in his synagogue’s library. The collection of folktales, midrashim, memoirs and songs revealed to him a world that he had only had intimations of existing from the stories that his mother, who had come from an Orthodox background, had told him. Inspired by the images of the great heroes and heroines of the spirit, the dreams, hopes and visions of Kenesset Yisrael, the community of Israel in her homeland and wanderings, Moshe made it his life’s ambition to recover that lost world.
Like many born during the 1960’s, Moshe engaged early on in a quest for personal meaning and found himself often at odds with the values of his upbringing. Active in the youth group of the Reform Movement (NIFTY), Moshe sought out greater and greater Jewish engagement. In 1975, while marching at a demonstration against the infamous United Nations declaration that Zionism is Racism, he met a group of young people who would become seminal in his life and joined HaBonim, Labor Zionist Youth. While this movement was secular, Moshe found companions who shared his love of Torah and joined them for a year-long training course on Kibbutz Ginegar, in the Jezreel Valley. That year became the beginning of a passionate love affair with the Land of Israel which has brought Moshe there many times, including a year at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, studies in Jewish thought and education at the Oranim Academic College in Tivon as well as time teaching and serving as guide and group leader.
Since returning to the United States in the late 80’s, Moshe has served the cause of Jewish education, teaching first in an afternoon school and then in the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. It was his innovative and engaging work with students that won him the Boston Jewish Community’s prestigious Keter Torah award. Over the next decade, Moshe would make the transition to school administration, serving as principal at the Harry Halpern Day School in Midwood, Brooklyn and as the principal of the Cranford Campus of the Schechter Day School of Essex and Union. At Essex and Union, Moshe also pioneered active learning programming in elementary through high schools, creating a community Tzedakah fund and curriculum preparing students for leadership in the Jewish community called Gil Mitzvot.
Moshe’s love of music has accompanied him on his journeys and he has brought his songs and stories to many venues. He played for Boston’s Israeli Dance Troupe, served as music director at Camp Young Judea and Yavneh and has infused his work in Tefilah with traditional, contemporary and original Jewish songs. His encouragement has helped foster the creation of Shirei Simcha, Temple HaTikvah of Central New Jersey’s groundbreaking Simcha band. He is grateful to the families of HaTikvah for their faith in him, for the gift of their friendship and the privilege of serving as their student Rabbi.
Moshe shares the blessings of raising a family with his bride, Joyce, and is the proud father of Yonatan, Shimrit and Sophie. Throughout his service in Jewish communities from Boston to Minneapolis, from New York and New Jersey to Jerusalem and the Jezreel Valley, Moshe has found that the even shtiya, the foundation stone of all Jewish experience, lies not only in Torah values, however they are interpreted, but in the urgency, commitment and enthusiasm with which they are expressed.
Above all of the experience, skills and vision that he brings with him to the rabbinate, it is his passion that he most desires to share. In Kabbalah, Sefirat Keter, highest of the emanations of God’s being- is also called Ratzon– will. It is in the immediacy in which Judaism is lived where the seeds of renewal and redemption are to be found. One of Moshe’s favorite teachings is Rabbi Akiva’s image of Torah in the Midrash to Song of Songs as a candle that kindles others without being thereby diminished. It is Moshe’s urgent prayer and hope that his Rabbinate be dedicated to ishei Yisrael, the kindling of the flames of the Jewish heart, that can light the way to the Presence of God.