Rabbi Peter Knobel and Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan are the guests on this edition of Jewish Sacred Aging Radio. Rabbi Knobel is author of Navigating the Journey: The Essential Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle.
Rabbi Kaplan is author of A Life of Meaning: Embracing Reform Judaism’s Sacred Path.
About the Guests
Rabbi Peter S. Knobel is rabbi emeritus of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL. He served the congregation as rabbi from 1980 to 2010. A graduate of Hamilton College, he was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 1969, and earned a masters in philosophy and a Ph.D. from Yale University. In addition to his congregational responsibilities, Rabbi Knobel serves in leadership roles in the Reform movement on a national level as well as being actively involved in the Chicago-area community. He is the immediate past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) and served as the CCAR of Siddur Editorial Committee. He is a past Chair of the Liturgy and Reform Practice Committee and was a member of ad hoc committees on human sexuality, homosexuality and the rabbinate, and patrilineal descent. He also is a member of the ARZA National Board, and chairs its Institute for Reform Zionism, and is a member of the board of trustees of both the Union for Reform Judaism and the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Knobel is past president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis and is active in the Evanston Downtown Clergy Association and a member of the Board of the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions. He is a member of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative on Peace in the Middle East. Rabbi Knobel has taught extensively at a number of colleges including HUC-JIR, Yale University, Connecticut College and Spertus Institute, on subjects ranging from Biblical Aramaic to Jewish mysticism to Israel in Christian thought and Jewish Bioethics. He also has authored and edited numerous articles and publications in the areas of Jewish Bioethics, Liturgy and Zionist Thought and is the editor of Gates of the Seasons: A Guide for the Jewish New Year.
Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan is currently the Rabbi of the Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile, Alabama. Before that, he was the Rabbi of the United Congregation of Israelites in Kingston, Jamaica, and from 2001, he led Temple B’nai Israel in Albany, Georgia.
Rabbi Kaplan prides himself most of all on being interested in each and every one of his congregants. Since arriving in Mobile a year-and-a-half ago, he has tried to meet with as many as possible. If you haven’t met with him yet to have coffee, just let him know and he would really enjoy getting together with you.
He has been and continues to be active in various programs, think tanks, and conferences to understand the history and theology of Reform Judaism and to discuss ways to make Reform Judaism a vibrant religious form of spirituality for the twenty-first century. This coming summer 2017, he has been invited to participate in two programs. In June, he was chosen as one of twelve from over one hundred candidates to participate in a program sponsored by the Frankel Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Michigan to mentor Jewish professionals in writing for popular audiences. This is a very important skill to communicate with the broader public in an era of rapid dissemination of short thought pieces through the Internet.
The other program is a seminar sponsored by the Lisa and Michael Leffell Foundation of White Plains, New York, which is interested in studying the impact of Israel on American Jews and Judaism. Rabbi Kaplan has been chosen as one of fifteen from two hundred plus candidates. He will present a paper in August on the impact of Reform Judaism in Israel on American Reform Jews.
Last summer, he was selected to participate in a conference sponsored by the Institut für Jüdische Studien und Religionswissenschaft at the University of Potsdam which was interested in European influences on North American Judaism. Rabbi Kaplan spoke on “German influences on American Reform Judaism between 1945 and 1975.”
He currently teaches at Springhill College, also in Mobile, Alabama. In Jamaica, he was the Rabbi Bernard Hooker Scholar at the United Theological College of the West Indies, which is affiliated with the University of the West Indies.
He is the author of The New Reform Judaism (Jewish Publication Society), as well as Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal (Columbia University Press), The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism (Cambridge University Press), American Reform Judaism: An Introduction (Rutgers University Press), Platforms and Prayer Books (Rowman and Littlefield), and Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism (Routledge).
In his spare time, he enjoys scuba diving with whale sharks, hiking in the Blue Mountains, biking up the coast, and of course listening to Bob Marley music.