The Academy for Jewish Religion held its 5783 Celebration of Service marking contributions of alumni from three different classes who have been serving the Jewish community for 13, 25 and 50 plus years, on March 16 via a virtual ceremony. Island Park Rabbi Paul Hoffman of South Shore Jewish Center was among the honored guests, to celebrate and embrace the full spectrum of Jewish traditions and observance.
The “warm, friendly, innovative and egalitarian congregation” leader Rabbi Hoffman was honored during the B’Nei Mitzvah Class of 2019 for 13 years of service.
A packed virtual ceremony of over 200 guests showed continued support and appreciation to the program, alumni and students. The Mehadrin Class of 1998 and Klei Zahav Class honoring took place later in the evening.
“This Bar Mitzvah is for you, my dad, love you,” said Rabbi Hoffman in his honoree speech, “Thank you all; my family, friends and colleagues at AJR for all you have done for me.”
Hoffman told the audience how instrumental his father was in showing him the way during his own journey. Regaling how his father never missed a Shabbat service either in Freeport or Island Park. Hoffman was sentimental, since his father passed away a year ago in March.
Attendees gathered to congratulate the honorees with positive messages. The ceremony highlighted each honoree with videos and pictures for all to enjoy. Worship songs and Jewish hymns were also part of the celebratory nature of the night.
Founded in 1956, AJR is a non-denominational Jewish seminary that ordains rabbis and cantors for all Jewish communities. It embraces the rich diversity within Judaism and equips students of all ages and backgrounds to lead and serve Jewish communities in an increasingly diverse and complex world through innovative and rigorous educational programming that strives to deepen spirituality and cultivation of vibrant connections.
“Mazal Tov everyone, to all the very deserving honorees,” said Ora Horn Prouser, the Executive Vice President and Academic Dean at AJR, and host of the night. “Such an exceptional group of people,” she said. “Thank you to all that made this event possible, we urge all of you to be in touch and learn more about AJR and join us in future events including our upcoming launching of our sacred art center.”