Scholar in Residence Weekend



Join the Agudas Achim community for a joyful and hopeful Shabbat with internationally-renowned LGBTQ+ advocate Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, a leading voice in LGBTQ inclusivity, whose perspective is at once both deeply traditional and radically progressive.

Rabbi Moskowitz received three Ultra-Orthodox ordinations while learning in the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. He is currently the Scholar-in-Residence for Trans and Queer Jewish Studies at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, (New York) the world’s largest LGBTQ+ synagogue.


Friday, 9/16 @ 5:30 pm — Celebratory Shabbat Dinner and Discussion

Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Amanda Mills (Jewish Family Services), Jodi and Owen Egerton will discuss the joys and oy’s of LGBTQ+ identity and alliedship from a Jewish perspective. The panel will be moderated by Rabbi Neil Blumofe.Our discussion will include an insight into Rabbi Moskowitz’s journey: from the moment during Chanukah when he came out to his Orthodox congregation as an LGBTQ+ ally, to his installation as the Scholar in Residence at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ synagogue.  Rabbi Moskowitz will be joined by local friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community.  This evening is proudly co-sponsored by Jewish Family Services.  

To sign up for dinner, please click here!

Shabbat evening services follow at 7:00 pm (sanctuary).  These services are Everybody- Friendly! 

Shabbat Morning, 9/17 @ 9:45 am — D’var Torah on Ki Tavo

Rabbi Shirley Idelson writes: “[queer Jews can] now find our lives reflected in new liturgy, we serve on the pulpit, and we share the pews openly with our partners. […] Yet every day that I traverse the byways of this new land, I am conscious of my immigrant status. The Old World I left never feels far away.” Join Rabbi Mike Moskowitz as he reflects on our Torah portion and what it has to teach us about staying resilient in our advocacy and allyship, remembering where we came from, and staying mindful of how much more ground we must still traverse as we continue to renew our connections to Jewish traditions.
*Out of an abundance of respect for the kaleidoscope of Jewish practice, all service live streaming (including recording) from the sanctuary will pause during Rabbi Moskowitz’s teaching (approximately 11:15), and will resume shortly thereafter.  Also, during Rabbi Moskowitz’s d’var Torah, the microphone will not be used.*

Saturday night, 9/17 @ 9:00 pm — Selichot and The Joys of Teshuvah (Repentance)
On Selichot evening, Saturday, join us for havdalah and a tisch (teaching and joyful song around a table with delicious nosh) as Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Rabbi Gail Swedroe and Rabbi Neil Blumofe teach and discuss the ways we lean into teshuvah and joy. As our New Year approaches: how do we explore the tension between the intentions of our actions and their real (maybe unintended) impact? How do we stay with the discomfort between what we say and what is heard by others? How do we sit with the pain points of resolving conflicts without being overwhelmed by them?  Where can we find joy in this process?

Join us for Selichot services @ 10:30 (CAA Sanctuary).  All are welcome!  We will sing our High Holy Day melodies and together, lovingly put the white mantels on our Torah scrolls.  

Sunday morning, 9/18 @ 12:00 – 1:30 pm (includes lunch) Hineni and High School
On Sunday morning, Rabbi Moskowitz and Zoë Miller, Agudas Achim Education Director, will engage in conversation and dialogue with our 8th-12th grade students about how to say “Hineni,” “Here I am,” as we begin a new school year. Our students will learn: What does it feel like to live authentically (and without judgment) while learning and evolving in religious spaces and in life?  How does one act with compassion, kindness, and strength, when feeling challenged, alone, and misunderstood?  How can we feel inspired by the meaning of “Hineni” as we pursue justice in our world and in our religious communities?  With what intentions do we begin our New Year, 5783?