Rabbi Leonard Gordon

During this year of transition, we are delighted to welcome Rabbi Leonard Gordon as our interim Rabbi.  Rabbi Gordon is an experienced rabbi and educator, a leader in social justice in the Conservative movement and an activist in interfaith relations.  He is Rabbi Emeritus at the Germantown Jewish Centre in Philadelphia where he was Senior Rabbi for 16 years.  GJC is known as a “community of communities” and pioneered both Synaplex (diverse program options on Shabbat morning) and nurturing multiple prayer communities sharing a single institution.   In 2010 he and his family moved to Newton when his wife, Dr. Lori Lefkovitz, became the Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies at Northeastern University.  For the next six years he was rabbi at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill.  In 2018 he received a Doctor of Ministry degree in Interfaith Studies from the Andover Newton Theological School.  His degree  focused on his work with Rabbis and Ministers exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and developing tools for Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Rabbi Gordon has taught comparative religion and rabbinic literature in a variety of settings, including Kenyon College, the Ohio State University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Hebrew College.  Currently he teaches in Hebrew College’s MEAH program, offering courses in the Biblical and Rabbinic semesters and a MEAH SELECT course in the reception of the Hebrew Bible in Christianity and Islam.  As a volunteer, he has chaired the Social Action committees of both the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.  He has also chaired the committee on Synagogue Transformation and Renewal of the USCJ and currently serves on the Keruv (Outreach) Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly.

At Temple Beth Sholom Rabbi Gordon is focusing his energy on enhancing our lifelong learning opportunities, teaching at the synagogue, in people’s home and in our Religious School.  He is also developing our Shabbat experience though new Sholomplex options and a program to welcome young cantorial students to the congregation.  He and Lori have two daughters, Ronya who works for the Jewish Museum in NYC and Samara who recently moved to Boston for a new positon in finance.


March 2020

Dear Friends,

There is so much happening in March, it’s hard to know where to begin!

I am particularly excited about our “Open Book Shabbat” on Saturday mornings for the month of March. We use the Siddur every week, but we can always use a refresher on what’s in it. On these three Saturday mornings, I’ll be teaching throughout the service, highlighting the history and meaning of some of our most important prayers.

I am also looking forward to our Havdallah celebration at the Framingham State University McAuliffe planetarium. As you know, Shabbat officially ends when we see three stars in the night sky, and on March 14 we will see them up close.

And most importantly, Purim. I. Love. Purim. The final piece of my costume just arrived in the mail, and it is perfect. (What is it? A surprise, that’s what!) Don’t be fooled, Purim shenanigans are not just for children. There are four mitzvot (commandments) of Purim, and adults are just as obligated as children!

1) send mishloach manot, gifts of food goodies, to friends and family.

2) give charitable gifts to those in need, typically on this holiday we focus on giving to causes that combat hunger and poverty.

3) hear the Megillah

4) celebrate with a festive meal

Everyone is encouraged to join us Monday evening to hear the Megillah, eat some hamentaschen, and of course, enter our costume contest. There are kids’ prizes for the cutest and most creative costume, adult prizes for the funniest and most creative, and a prize for the best group as well. The Ritual Committee already has a fabulous group costume planned, so get your triangle-shaped thinking-caps on and start planning yours!

Rabbi Poirier