During a weekend of celebration, Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer was finally installed as Congregation Adat Reyim’s rabbi.
Glazer has been with the Springfield synagogue since July 2020. But due to circumstances, not the least being the COVID-19 pandemic, she didn’t receive her official welcome until Jan. 29.
By now she knows the Adat Reyim community well. And Glazer said last Shabbat’s celebration was exactly what everyone needed it to be.
“It was moving, warm, heartfelt and it helped foster this really beautiful sense of community and connection,” Glazer said.
What stood out to Glazer during the three-day celebration was all of the people who participated, both in person and through Zoom. Glazer’s mentors — Rabbi Elyse Wechterman and the Rev. Dr. William Michael Kondrath — spoke from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, respectively. There were also dozens of congregants who played roles in the installation activities.
“Our congregation focuses a lot on ways of helping people really feel connected to our community,” Glazer said. “Community is a very important value to us. And the best way to see that is to have people participate in and have an active role.”
Participants shared reflections, led prayers and read poems. Glazer also hung a mezuzah on her office door with Adat Reyim’s preschool on Friday afternoon.
Andrea Sobel, president of Adat Reyim, said the weekend showed what Adat Reyim is and what it stands for.
“I know people in the sanctuary and online had tears in their eyes throughout the ceremony at different parts,” Sobel said. “It was a very moving special event.”
As Adat Reyim searched for a rabbi to succeed Rabbi Bruce Aft, congregants took note of Glazer’s experience working with interfaith families, Sobel said. It was something that many congregants mentioned at the installation.
Rabbi Glazer possesses “qualities of love of Torah, of teaching, her understanding and inclusiveness in a diverse congregation,” Sobel said.
The synagogue has many interfaith families and works with a number of interfaith groups. The Social Action Committee helped build an interfaith partnership to help resettle Afghan refugees in Northern Virginia, Glazer said. On Jan. 30, as part of the installation weekend, Adat Reyim had a mitzvah day in which 100 students, teens, parents, teachers, volunteers and staff took part in book drives, blood drives and more.
“It was designed to benefit causes that are important to me and the congregation,” Glazer said. “That was really fantastic.”