Rabbi Leiah and Rabbi Fine Fireside Chat
Sunday Oct. 22: Fireside Chat – Rabbis Fine and Moser to Speak on “Similarities and Differences of Conservative and Reconstructionist Liturgy.”
On Sunday, October 22, at 9:30 a.m., Rabbi David J. Fine and Rabbi Leiah Moser will present a Fireside Chat on the topic “Similarities and Differences of Conservative and Reconstructionist Liturgy.”
Join Rabbis David Fine and Leiah Moser for a “fireside chat” on how the prayerbooks of their respective movements respond to challenging issues.
This presentation is part of Temple Israel & JCC’s Temple Talk series. It is in person only and will not be online. Admission is free and everyone is invited.
Rabbi David J. Fine, PhD, has served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Ridgewood since 2009. Rabbi Fine is also an adjunct professor of Jewish law at the Abraham Geiger and Zacharias Frankel Colleges (a Reform and Conservative rabbinical seminary program) at the University of Potsdam in Germany. Prior to assuming the pulpit in Ridgewood, he served as rabbi of Shaarei Tikvah in Scarsdale, NY, and before that, as Jewish chaplain at Wesleyan University and as assistant to the executive vice president at the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.
A native of Queens, NY, Rabbi Fine completed his doctorate in modern European history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and his rabbinical ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in history from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, with a year spent at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rabbi Fine has published extensively in the areas of Jewish law, Conservative Judaism, and German Jewish history. In Passionate Centrism: One Rabbi’s Judaism (2016), Rabbi Fine presents his interpretation of Judaism along with a collection of essays and studies. His Jewish Integration in the German Army in the First World War (2012) is based on his doctoral dissertation. He is a regular op-ed contributor to the North Jersey Jewish Standard.
Rabbi Fine is active in community affairs. He volunteers as a chaplain for the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. Rabbi Fine is the treasurer of the Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies. He serves the international Rabbinical Assembly as a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards where he contributes Jewish legal opinions (halakhic responsa) on contemporary questions of Jewish law. He served as president of the Ridgewood Interfaith clergy council, the North Jersey Board of Rabbis and the New Jersey Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Fine lives in Ridgewood with his wife, Alla, and their sons, Laurence and Ariel.
Rabbi Leiah Moser’s journey to the rabbinate began when she discovered Judaism while teaching English in Japan. She had read Maimonides and the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas in college, where she also read Robert Alter’s translations of Genesis and the King David story—her first true exposures to Jewish thought and writings; but it was her unexpected introduction to the Jewish religion while in Japan that spurred her religious awakening, one that illuminated her subsequent career and religious paths. Upon her return to the States, Rabbi Leiah joined a synagogue in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she converted to Judaism in 2008. She graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and was ordained as a rabbi in 2017.
During her rabbinic studies, she received an Auerbach Ignition grant for her work incorporating electronic music into Jewish prayer. Her rabbinic interests include Talmud, kabbalah, and Jewish mysticism, and the exploration of these through a queer lens; art and writing as a spiritual practice; and building open and accessible communities for all. Outside of her rabbinic work, Rabbi Leiah enjoys fantasy and science fiction, painting, gaming, and making electronic music.
Rabbi Leiah earned her bachelor’s degree from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, in philosophy, the history of ideas and Japanese, and an MA in humanities from the University of Chicago. During her college years, she focused on exploring different philosophers’ ideas about a possible “third term” between/beyond subject and object. A framed piece of Japanese calligraphy (a graduation gift created by one of her professors) reads aidagara, meaning “relationship or “in-betweenness” which hangs in her office.
The year 2017 was an auspicious one for Leiah. Not only did she become an ordained rabbi, she also got married to Ross Mattio and became a stepparent to four children. In 2018, she published a Jewish young adult fantasy novel titled, Magical Princess Harriett, about a transgender girl saving her town from the forces of darkness. Rabbi Moser has office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.; her office is on the 2nd floor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Temple Israel & JCC offers two worship alternatives within one community: egalitarian Conservative and Reconstructionist. Service schedules and more information are available at www.synagogue.org.