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Temple Bat Yam to welcome guest rabbis this summer

Staff reports

Temple Bat Yam, the Jewish congregation and community center serving Lake Tahoe’s South Shore and the Carson Valley, will offer its annul summer guest rabbi program, which will feature four rabbis and a cantor conducting Friday night Sabbath services between June 18 and Aug. 6.

The visiting clergy program begins June 18 at 7:30 p.m. with Cantor Eli Cohen, a widely-known lay cantor and teacher of Jewish mysticism from Santa Cruz, Calif.

Although Temple Bat Yam is a Reform Jewish congregation, Cantor Cohen will feature a broad spectrum of musical melodies from many segments of Judaism, from Orthodox to Jewish Renewal movements. Cohen will accompany himself on the guitar.

His service also will be flavored with some of his teachings from the Kabbalah and other mystical traditions of Judaism, as featured in the courses he teaches in Santa Cruz. Canto Cohen also serves as cantor for the Jewish High Holy Days for a congregation in Detroit, Mich.

On Friday night, July 2, the temple’s youth group will conduct Sabbath services.

The visiting rabbi program will continue on Friday, July 9, with Student Rabbi Dan Treiser, the first of three former student rabbis at Temple Bat Yam, who will be returning to conduct services at their former temple during July.

Treiser, who served as student rabbi of Temple Bat Yam from August 1996 through June 1998, is entering his last year of rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College, New York City. He will be ordained as a rabbi next May. He also serves as youth group advisor and teacher of Bar and Bat Mitzvah students and the confirmation class at Temple Sinai of Bergen County, Tenafly, N.J.

On Friday, July 16, Rabbi Evan Goodman will return to the temple where he served as student rabbi in 1990 and 1991. At the beginning of this year, he became Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel-Judea, San Francisco, after serving six years as associate rabbi for Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo, specializing in Jewish education for adults and children.

Goodman has returned to Tahoe each year since his ordination as a rabbi in 1993 to participate in the temple’s summer guest program.

Rabbi Leslie Bergson, the only female student rabbi ever to serve at Temple Bat Yam in its 15-year history, will return Friday, July 30, to conduct Sabbath services.

Bergson, who served as student rabbi at Lake Tahoe from 1991 to 1993, now is director of the Hillel program, which provides services for Jewish students at The Claremont Colleges east of Los Angeles.

The final visiting rabbi scheduled is Dr. Albert Plotkin of Phoenix, Ariz., one of the best known religious scholars and ethical social leaders in the Jewish Reform movement. A graduate of Notre Dame University, Rabbi Plotkin will conduct Friday night services on Aug. 6.

In addition to serving as Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Israel of Phoenix, and part-time rabbi of congregations he began in Sedona and Sun Lakes, Ariz., Plotkin is considered an eloquent spokesman on ethical social religion. The latest of his several books is “The Ethics of World Religion.”

Active in interfaith activities, he has served on the national boards of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Urban League, among numerous other organizations.

This summer marks the third year Plotkin has participated in the temple’s summer program and he has drawn large and enthusiastic audiences each time.

All services are open to the public and will be conducted at the temple, 3260 Pioneer Trail, South Lake Tahoe. They will be followed by a brief reception and potluck dessert.