[JoEllen Duckor]


A weekend of celebrations will culminate on Sunday with the Rabbinic ordination of Temple Sinai’s JoEllen Duckor.

Four rabbis will be at Temple Sinai for this important occasion: Rabbi Jeff Roth, Rabbi Brian Besser, Rabbi Johanna Hershenson and Rabbi Fred Morgan.

Over the past 30 years JoEllen Duckor has been a Temple Sinai member, board president, ritual committee chair, beit midrash parent and principal, and for the last 10 years mashpiah.

Mashpiah has a variety of translations but most often is used to describe a companion, guide or spiritual director and a teacher of matters of Jewish faith and practice.  JoEllen Duckor’s role at Temple Sinai is to support the spiritual, pastoral, religious and educational needs of the congregation through personal and communal prayer, study, teaching, and pastoral care, life cycle rituals, celebrating and mourning.

She trained as a spiritual director in New Zealand and has continued to study and teach at Advanced Jewish Spiritual Direction seminars and retreats overseas. She has completed the Jewish Mediation Teaching Training Program and leads meditation groups for Temple Sinai and the wider Jewish ad non-Jewish world.

JoEllen Duckor will be ordained at 11am at Temple Sinai on Sunday December 3. The ceremony will be followed by a celebratory lunch.

Rabbi Jeff Roth will lead a contemplative service prior to the ordination ceremony at 9.30 at Temple Sinai. He is the founder and director of The Awakened Heart Project or Contemplative Judaism and was the co-founder of Elat Chayyim, the Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center. While in Wellington on Thursday November 30 he spoke about his book, “ Me, Myself and God.”

Tonight, Friday December 1, the Erev Shabbat service at 6pm will be led by Rabbi Brian Besser followed by a shared vegetarian dinner. Rabbi Besser was the spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe for 11 years before he studied and was ordained. He is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Bloomington, Illinois, an inclusive congregation that offers a choice of Reform, Conservative, and Renewal services.

Rabbi Johanna Hershenson will lead the service on Saturday, December 2. She was Temple Sinai’s rabbi for several years. In 2008 she led a group of Temple members to Hermaneuv-Mestec (now in the Czech republic) to celebrate Simchat Torah with the Torah scroll.  The service on Saturday will include a commemoration of the event.

The fourth rabbi is Rabbi Fred Morgan. He is well known to the Temple Sinai congregation. He led the High Holyday services at Temple Sinai two years ago and is at present the movement rabbi for the Union of Progressive Judaism. After dinner tonight, Rabbi Fred Morgan will present:

“Shalom Silk Road!”: an introduction to the exotic civilisations of Central Asia, the 2000 year- old Silk Road, and the Jewish communities of Bukhara, based on his 2017 tours.