Rabbi Adena Blum Named as Senior Rabbi
Congregation Beth Chaim, the largest Reform synagogue in Mercer County, is very pleased to announce that Rabbi Adena Blum has been named as its new senior rabbi.
Rabbi Blum currently is the associate rabbi at Beth Chaim. She joined the synagogue as assistant rabbi in 2014. She was selected as Beth Chaim’s senior rabbi following approval of the temple’s Search Committee and the Board of Trustees and will assume her new position on July 1, 2020.
“We are thrilled to have Rabbi Blum lead Congregation Beth Chaim into the future,” said the synagogue’s President Ken Pogrob. “She is exactly what our congregation needs going forward. Her spiritual strength and warmth, commitment to her community, and dedication to social justice make her a wonderful fit for our congregation. We look forward to her leadership for many years to come.”
“I feel incredibly blessed for the opportunity to serve as Congregation Beth Chaim’s next senior rabbi,” said Rabbi Blum. “I want to help ensure that this congregation is a place for all to assemble; a place where all are included, and everyone feels valued. The Torah tells us that everyone in the assembly is considered of equal importance in God’s eyes. Every person, irrespective of age, gender or status matters.”
Rabbi Blum’s sensitivity to greater inclusion developed through her family history. This has led her to decide that she will officiate at interfaith weddings under certain circumstances and conditions. “I want to welcome the fellow travelers in our midst and show appreciation for their contributions to our community,” she said.
Rabbi Blum is the Immediate Past President of the Windsor Hightstown Area Ministerium and a member of the Religious Leaders of West Windsor. She has partnered with the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton on interfaith dialogue programs. At Beth Chaim she established an annual interfaith family Shabbat service to honor the fellow travelers in the congregation who are raising Jewish families.
Rabbi Blum was ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York (HUC-JIR) in 2014. She received her Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Literature and Religious Education from HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Blum was mentored by Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia, who served Beth Chaim for 42 years before retiring. “From the very beginning he gave me room to grow and learn as a rabbi,” she said. “He also taught me about the importance of humor, which can bring people together in a powerful way, alleviate tension, and keep us, as rabbis, grounded.”
A native of Lawrenceville, N.J., Rabbi Blum is a graduate of The Lawrenceville School and Brandeis University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and a minor in Religious Studies.
Rabbi Blum succeeds Rabbi Brian Beal, who has served as interim senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Chaim since February 2019.
“We are grateful to Rabbi Beal for his service as our interim senior rabbi during this transition period,” said Congregation Beth Chaim President Pogrob. “We have been blessed to have his leadership, knowledge and involvement with our temple community.”
At Beth Chaim, Rabbi Blum led the congregation’s transition to the Reform movement’s latest Shabbat and festival prayer book, Mishkan T’filah. She also restructured the b’nei mitzvah process to provide more engagement with families.
Prior to her service at Congregation Beth Chaim, Rabbi Blum acquired extensive experience and training serving as the rabbinic intern at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, NJ, and Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ.
She has also served a number of other Reform synagogues, one Hillel, two hospitals, two URJ summer camps, and several other institutions where she engaged in teaching, preaching, leading worship, and programming for people of all ages and stages.
She is a faculty member at URJ Camp Harlam, a role she plans to continue.
Rabbi Blum is a member of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
In her free time, Rabbi Blum enjoys good food, traveling the world, and spending time with her husband Sean and sons Jonah and Ari.