Rabbi Bruce Aft
On behalf of the Board, we are happy to announce that Rabbi Bruce Aft will be joining us starting September 21st. Rabbi Aft will be our mara d’atra, halakhic authority, and will be available for pastoral care, supporting our adult education program, and helping b’nai mitzvah students. Rabbi Aft will be leading services once a month, as will his rabbinic intern. In addition, Rabbi Aft will be helping us work through what we’re looking for in a permanent rabbi and supporting our rabbi search.
Rabbi Emeritus Bruce D. Aft has been the spiritual leader at Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA from 1991 until last month. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs and developed an early love for Judaism — and the Chicago White Sox. He played on the University of Illinois varsity reserve team for a few years, and then turned his attention to the rabbinate and social work, receiving an MSW from Temple University, ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and eventually an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
Now in retirement, Rabbi Aft is a visiting scholar at George Mason University in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. He will also be working with the Jewish students at GMU and lectures for the Learning and Retirement Institute at GMU. He is the President of the community board for Operation Understanding DC. He also serves as a visiting lecturer at Greenspring Village and a Chaplain for the Jewish Social Service Agency.
Rabbi Aft will also continue to have a part-time pulpit, serving small congregations in the South through the Institute for Southern Jewish Life.
Over the past 30 years Rabbi Aft was active with BBYO and helped staff March of the Living. He served as President of the Board of Jewish Education of Greater Washington and was a board member for the Federation. Rabbi Bruce and his wife Sue will be volunteering for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy where he has not yet been offered a contract to pitch. In retirement he and Sue look forward to visiting their four children and five grandchildren much more often.
Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Aft to Sha’are Shalom!
L’hitraot, till we meet again,
Heidi Dodds, President
Laurie Mangold, Executive Director