On July 1, 2018, Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar joined the Temple family after serving as spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville, Alabama for nine years. During her tenure there, she won widespread recognition for promoting the congregation’s inclusiveness, innovative programming and welcoming all who entered its doors. The values and traditions she cherishes and her commitment to fostering the closest relationship possible between congregation and clergy are central to her new role at Congregation Ahavath Chesed.
Rabbi Bahar was ordained in 2009 by Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where she also earned her Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters. Before that, she was a rabbinic intern at Adath Israel Congregation in Cincinnati, a student rabbi at Anshe Emeth in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Temple Shalom in Winnipeg, Canada. She also earned a BA in philosophy at Brandeis University. Rabbi Bahar is president of the South East Central Conference of American Rabbis. She was recognized by The Forward as one of “America’s 33 Most Inspirational Rabbis” in 2015.
Introducing herself to her new congregants, Rabbi Bahar said she looks forward to immediately working with them in several key areas:
- Worship – “Prayer and ritual invite us to put down the distractions of daily living and open ourselves up to the sounds of the Divine singing around us.”
- Torah – “Jewish Knowledge is one of the firm legs upon which any congregation stands.”
- Life cycle events – “Guiding families in Jewish rituals and customs to help them experience the spirituality of their meaningful events, whether it is a baby naming, bris, bar/bat mitzvah, conversion, wedding or funeral.”
- Pastoral care – “Perhaps the most important aspect of my congregational service, making every member feel loved, included and that their needs are being addressed.”
- Youth and family – “Through the joy of spiritual engagement and knowledge of Torah, guiding our children to become the next generation of Temple members.
- Interfaith and community outreach and inreach – “Continuing the Temple’s longstanding engagement with those of other faiths and other Jewish religious streams.”
- Social Action – “Engaging Temple members with members of partner congregations and organizations in tikkun olam and promoting social justice.”
Rabbi Bahar is the proud parent of a daughter, Aiden, and two sons, David and Daniel; along with two cats and a bearded dragon.