Thoughts from our Rabbi
-Abraham Joshua Heschel
Rabbi Fryer Bodzin is devoted to strengthening the commitment of members of this synagogue to living a Jewish life, and to guiding their growth as Conservative Jews. Our rabbi is passionate about Jewish life and strives to create a warm, inviting atmosphere, where people from all backgrounds are welcome. Our rabbi continues to work tirelessly to create opportunities with both young families and members of all ages.
In 2005, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin became a member of the Rabbinical Assembly after she received her rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Prior to that, she obtained a Masters of Social Work and a certificate in Jewish Communal Service from Yeshiva University in Manhattan, as well as a B.A. in Religion from York University in Toronto. Following her ordination, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin spent three years as Rabbi-in-Residence at the Chicagoland Jewish High School, where she taught, developed curricula, organized holiday programming, engaged in pastoral work and advised student clubs. In the greater Chicagoland area, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin was an instructor for the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School and was a mikvah attendant at the Adam R. Strauss Memorial Mikvah.
Immediately prior to becoming the spiritual leader of ICCJ, our rabbi spent a year as adjunct rabbi at the Anshe Emet Synagogue in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. While there, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin was instrumental in creating and teaching new curricula for adults and teens alike, as well as revamping and directing the popular Jews by Choice program.
Since her arrival at our synagogue, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin has created a culture of chesed (loving kindness), together with a devoted cadre of people who do errands for the homebound and elderly. Adding on to the successes in this arena, the synagogue launched RE’FA’E’NI, our new series of ICCJ Healing Services. RE’FA’E’NI is open to anyone seeking community and comfort, following a loss or an illness.
Rabbi Fryer Bodzin teaches at ICCJ multiple times each week. Her Thursday lunch and learn is the most popular class. She has designed a new curriculum for 2012-2013 focusing on women in midrash. Wednesday morning Tefillah Together continues and our rabbi facilitates interactive Saturday afternoon learning opportunities.
Rabbi Fryer Bodzin has helped ICCJ enter the twenty-first century. Thanks to our rabbi, you can be a fan of ICCJ on Facebook. Rabbi Fryer Bodzin updates the Facebook fan page numerous times each week, with programmatic updates, news and relevant articles. Our rabbi maintains our synagogue presence in the Twitterverse, sharing thoughts as @ICCJ_Queens. In addition, our rabbi is part of the team that contributes to our new website.
Rabbi Fryer Bodzin is a frequent presence in our Ohr Chadash religious school. She teaches are post Bar/Bat Mitzvah group each week and visits classrooms for the “Ask the Rabbi” program numerous times each month.
Rabbi Fryer Bodzin is a graduate of the Keshet Training Institute/Hineini Education Project, which supports and trains Jewish educators and lay leaders to ensure safe space for the Jewish GLBT community. She approaches everything she does with an eye to toward inclusion and creating safe space. Our rabbi is a strong supporter of the New York State Marriage Equality Act.
Since coming to ICCJ, our rabbi has been featured on two of The Jewish Channel’s television programs, The Salon and Rabbis Roundtable, where pulpit rabbis of different denominations engage in open discussion and debate about the issues facing the entire Jewish community. Our rabbi has had numerous thought pieces published on the cutting edge website www.ejewishphilanthropy.com, oychicago.com, the Canadian Jewish News, the Huffington Post and the Jewish Week.
In November of 2009, The New York Jewish Week published a front-page article on our rabbi, reporting on her installation as the first female pulpit rabbi in the borough of Queens.
Our rabbi is on the Board of Directors of the New York Board of Rabbis and on the Rabbinic Cabinet Executive Committee of the Jewish Federations of North America. In 2013 she was selected to travel to Kiev and Israel with the Rabbinic Cabinet. Our rabbi sits on the Jewish Spiritual Care Professional Advisory Task Force of UJA Federation of New York. She is also a part of the Women’s Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly and she is also deeply involved with Faith in New York (formerly known as Queens Congregations United for Action), a grass roots, faith based community organizing affiliate of the PICO National Network.
In January 2013, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin represented New York City at the White House, meeting with representatives of the President’s Office and Vice President’s Office about gun control. Following that experience, our rabbi was published in Peace in Our Cities: Rabbis Against Gun Violence. The book is available on Amazon.
It is no secret that our rabbi especially enjoys handing out candy to children on Shabbat morning, following services.
In her spare time, our rabbi can be found exercising, catching up on television programs on DVR, or grocery shopping for the finest vegan kosher food our neighborhood has to offer.
Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin is happily married to her best friend, Aaron Bodzin. In October 2009, they became the first husband and wife team at ICCJ to read Torah, one after another, on the same Shabbat morning.
You can follow Rabbi Fryer Bodzin on Twitter @shrobyn.
When I study, God speaks to me."
– Rabbi Louis Finkelstein