Panel discusses how synagogues should be planning to continue using new technology after the pandemic


On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, Rabbi Address welcomes a panel to discuss how technology changed the High Holy Days in 2020, and the implications for future use by synagogues as a regular part of their community outreach. The panelists were:

  • Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, interim rabbi at Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Rabbi Adena Blum, senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Chaim, West Windsor, New Jersey
  • Steve Lubetkin, producer of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast and managing partner, The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who coordinated production of completely pre-recorded High Holy Days services for Temple Emanuel, Cherry Hill.

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Rabbi Adena Blum grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and began her Jewish journey at Har Sinai Temple. She is an alumna 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. She received Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Literature and Religious Education from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, where she was also ordained in May 2014.

Prior to her service at Congregation Beth Chaim, Rabbi Blum served 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.

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. She is passionate about education, Israel, spirituality, and forging meaningful relationships. In her free time, Rabbi Blum enjoys good food, traveling the world, indoor cycling, and spending time with her husband Sean and sons Jonah and Ari.

Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin is one of American Judaism’s most prolific and most-quoted rabbis and thought leaders.  His colleagues have called him “an activist for Jewish ideas,” “courageous,” “always relevant,” and “a rabbi’s rabbi.”

Ever since his first book, Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim The Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah (Jewish Lights Publishing), Rabbi Salkin has been known for his writing, teaching and activism.  His books are on such subjects as ritual, masculinity, Zionism, inter-religious affairs, and how Jews can change the world.  He has written or edited three Torah commentaries – two of which are for teens. Several of his books have won national awards.

Rabbi Salkin’s award-winning blog, “Martini Judaism: for those who want to be shaken and stirred,” is published by the Religion News Service.  His essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Commentary, The Huffington Post, Tablet, Mosaic, Forward and JTA.  He has discussed the American political scene on CNN and the BBC.  He has contributed articles to scholarly journals.

Rabbi Salkin was one of the first rabbis to earn the Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.  He has lectured and taught at major universities and seminaries, and has presented at sermon workshops in New York, Massachusetts, Chicago and Palm Beach.  In addition, in the summer of 2020, Rabbi Salkin delivered the keynote address on religion at The Chautauqua Institution, America’s iconic educational and cultural community.

Rabbi Salkin believes that synagogues should be responsive, responsible and resilient.  During the COVID-19 crisis, he helped transform his synagogue into a virtual congregation.  He created Facebook services (with hundreds of virtual worshipers) and Torah classes on Zoom.  He created “Zooming Out Of Egypt,” a virtual seder to bring congregants’ families together.

Rabbi Salkin is an intrepid Zionist and lover of Israel.  He has served on the boards of Zionist organizations, has led congregational missions to Israel, interprets Israel from the pulpit and in print, and studies every summer at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, a leading center for of Jewish thought and education.

Rabbi Salkin grew up in Old Bethpage, NY.  He is the father of Samuel (Kyle) and Gabriel and the grandfather of Noah. His hobbies include playing guitar, movies, reading, travel and learning about coffee.

Steve Lubetkin is the managing partner of The Lubetkin Media Companies and serves as news director of its news content division, In addition to the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, The Lubetkin Media Companies produces award-winning, dramatic and artistic corporate, event, and documentary videos and photojournalism, and produces audio, video, and photos for distribution over the Internet through several divisions. In 2020, the firm produced completely pre-recorded High Holy Days services for Temple Emanuel, a Reform congregation in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. Since 1996, he has been the technology columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey. He has received numerous awards for his work in broadcast and print journalism and podcasting. He holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, a BA from Monmouth College (now Monmouth University), and is a graduate of the Sh’liach Kehillah program of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio.



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