On Friday, Aug. 21, at a socially-distanced Shabbat Under the Stars service in the parking lot of The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, the congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi David Small, was joined by Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz, the Emanuel’s new part-time assistant rabbi.
“Each week, Rabbi Alan will devote hours to pastoral and ritual support,” says Small. “He has already begun to reach out to elderly and ailing congregants to offer encouragement and support by phone. Rabbi Alan has led Daily Minyan and helped lead Shabbat Services and has appeared with me at an Interfaith Concert for Hope and Peace in Bloomfield.”
Pastoral care is something with which Lefkowitz has years of experience, having served as Jewish chaplain at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, the Connecticut House of Representatives, the Hebrew Center, and Hoffman SummerWood, as well as several other facilities and organizations. He also has a website called, “Rabbi Without Walls, working with “people who aren’t members of a synagogue but still want pastoral care.”
“I was approached by Rabbi Small to be an assistant rabbi to take care of pastoral needs and I am absolutely delighted to be here,” says Lefkowitz. “I’ve been assisting at the minyan as needed. I’ve been sharing the pulpit with Rabbi Small and it has been an absolute delight. I feel honored to help out wherever I can…wherever I’m needed.”
After serving as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Ahm in Windsor for 19 years, Lefkowitz has remained busy since that shul’s merger in 2018 with Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor.
“I’ve had to reinvent myself,” he explains.
Besides his website and pastoral care experience, he has also taught at Temple Beth Hillel’s religious school and teaches a course at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford.
Before serving Beth Ahm, Rabbi Alan, as he is known to congregants, was cantor/educator at the former Beth Hillel Synagogue in Bloomfield and at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Norwich for 10 years. He also served as principal of the religious school at B’nai Sholom Beth Israel in Manchester.
“Rabbi Lefkowitz’ warmth and kind approach, his love of Jewish traditions and his musicality all add to the vitality of our communal and spiritual life,” says Rabbi Small. “Rabbi Lefkowitz shows a genuine love of people and of Jewish life that fits well with the spirit of Emanuel Synagogue.”