By Arlene Appelrouth
A week before his current congregation officially approved his successor, Rabbi Fred Greene won confirmation Jan. 25 that the Rocky Mountains will be the next stop in his rabbinic journey.
When Rabbi Greene, a lifelong Northeasterner, relocated to Roswell in 2006, he became the second noninterim rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah.
It was his first position as a senior rabbi. He was eager to share his gifts, hopeful his efforts would be meaningful and earnest in his desire to grow with the congregation. He and his wife moved their family from Bridgeport, Conn., where he was the assistant rabbi of B’nai Israel.
After eight years in Roswell, he found himself satisfied and happy with what he had accomplished at Beth Tikvah and ready for a new challenge, so he gave the congregation a year’s notice of his intent to leave. That gave Beth Tikvah time to find Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner, approved Feb. 2 as the new senior rabbi, effective July 1.
“It’s time to grow,” Rabbi Greene said. “I’m ready for my next step on my journey as a rabbi.”
Beth Tikvah Cantor Nancy Kassel said she will miss Rabbi Greene.
“I’ve had a great partnership with Rabbi Greene,” she said. “We really can talk to each other. He knows how to listen.”
Cantor Kassel said the Roswell congregation has seen much growth and change under Rabbi Greene. “He’s helped this congregation take more social action and done a lot to engage our youth beyond the time of their bar or bat mitzvahs.”
For example, Rabbi Greene went to the state Capitol on Jan. 28 to attend an interfaith press conference opposing the religious liberty legislation proposed in the General Assembly. The only other congregational rabbi there was Congregation Bet Haverim’s Rabbi Josh Lesser.Three days after being confirmed as the new rabbi for the Reform congregation in Boulder, Colo., Rabbi Fred Greene practices social activism by attending the Faith in Public Life press conference against religious liberty legislation Jan. 28 at the Capitol, where the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of First Iconium Baptist Church speaks. Photo by Michael Jacobs
Now 44, Rabbi Greene is moving west to Boulder, Colo., where he will become the spiritual leader of Congregation Har HaShem, a 50-year-old Reform congregation he describes as inclusive and focused on social justice.
“The folks in Boulder are always outdoors, and they want to be environmental stewards,” he said.
His new congregation, which like Beth Tikvah has around 500 member families, has a strong program for people with disabilities and welcomes “anyone who wants a seat. There are Jews in Har HaShem who may have been marginalized elsewhere. It welcomes members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community.”
Rabbi Greene will begin his new job July 1.
He said his devotion to “Jews, tradition, prayer and holiness” will continue in Colorado, and the move will enable him to be innovative as he explores the changing Jewish world.