BZBI, where you belong


    Rabbi Abe Friedman, Senior Rabbi

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    Rabbi Abe Friedman found his love of Jewish community as a camper, counselor, and Rosh Edah (Division Head) at Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts. His rabbinic work focuses on community engagement, Jewish learning, and spiritual counseling, and he expresses his love of music through electric guitar, piano and the occasional DJ set. Rabbi Abe and his wife, Rebecca, are the proud, amused, and tired parents of Odelia, Azriel, and Yonah.

    Rabbi Abe joined BZBI in 2015 after serving for five years as a rabbi at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Rabbi Abe lived in Israel for a year as part of USY’s Nativ Leadership Program before attending Boston University. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at Los Angeles’ American Jewish University, where he also earned an MBA in Nonprofit Management.

    Rabbi Annie Lewis, Associate Rabbi

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    Rabbi Annie Lewis is a passionate organizer, story-weaver, compassionate listener, and teacher of Torah of the heart. Rabbi Lewis was ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2012, where she received a master’s degree in Jewish women’s and gender studies and was awarded a Wexner Graduate Fellowship. She served as Assistant Rabbi of Germantown Jewish Centre from 2012-2016. Before joining the BZBI clergy team, Rabbi Lewis held the role of Director of Rabbinic Formation at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she oversaw professional development and field education for students.

    Rabbi Lewis has served as a visiting rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Gulfport, Mississippi and has worked as a community organizing trainer with JOIN for Justice. Rabbi Lewis studied linguistic anthropology at Brown University and at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She delved into Torah at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and worked to strengthen civil society in Israel as a New Israel Fund/Shatil Social Justice Fellow. She launched a Philadelphia Jewish Social Justice Beit Midrash and was chosen as an American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellow.

    Rabbi Lewis has been in training as a couples and family therapist and brings this relationship toolkit to her rabbinic work supporting individuals and families through life transitions and officiating at life cycle events. Rabbi Lewis is a singer, poet and performance artist with roots in the Storahtelling ritual theater company. Her writing has been published by Ritualwell, Lilith and Kveller. She was recently selected as a David Hartman Center fellow for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, as an emerging thought leader in the North American Jewish community, and currently serves as Co-President of the Board of Rabbis of Philadelphia.

    Rabbi Lewis believes the Jewish people are beautiful and beloved and that Torah holds the sparks for transforming the world to honor the lives and dignity of all human beings. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Rabbi Yosef Goldman, and their children, Zohar Lieba and Shir Emet. You can find them walking around the city and exploring Philadelphia’s playgrounds.

    Rabbi Ira F. Stone, Rabbi Emeritus

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    Ira F. Stone served as Rabbi of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in center city Philadelphia from 1988 to 2015, at which time he became Rabbi Emeritus.

    Before coming to Philadelphia he served as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle, Washington for nine years.  Rabbi Stone is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where he received a BA in Religious Studies.  He attended the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and graduated from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1979 with a Masters of Hebrew Literature and was ordained as a rabbi at that time.  Prior to attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Stone worked for the Jewish Family Service of Long Island as an outreach worker in crisis intervention with drug abusing Jewish youth and also developed and implemented a pioneer project for brain injured children with emphasis on integrating them into a total day camp and winter recreational program at the YM/YWHA.

    Ira Stone’s poetry has appeared in various journals and he is the author of two volumes of poetry: “The Really Perfect Poem Has An Infinitely Small Vocabulary” (Mellon Press) and “Sketches For A Book of Psalms (Xlibris.)

    He served as the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard University for the Spring 2005 semester.

    In addition to his work in the pulpit, Rabbi Stone has written articles on theology and rabbinics for various journals including Conservative Judaism, Wellspring Journal, Middlebury College Magazine and Kerem.  He also authored “Seeking the Path to Life” which was published in 1992 by Jewish Lights Publishing and “Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud” which was published in 1997 by The Jewish Publication Society.  “A Responsible Life: Mussar As A Spiritual Path,” was published by Aviv Press in the Fall of 2006.  The Jewish Publication Society also published Rabbi Stone’s contemporary commentary on Mordechai Kaplan’s translation of Messilat Yesharim by Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzatto.

    Rabbi Stone served as lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary and adjunct and visiting lecturer in Modern Jewish Thought at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

    Rabbi Stone is married to Annie and they are the parents of Tamar, Yoshi and Shuli.