By SHERIDAN CYR
The Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation, located at 37 Main Street in Southington, has announced its annual community-wide summer picnic, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 5 where the synagogue’s incoming rabbi Alana Wasserman will be introduced to the community.
Experienced and well-traveled, Wasserman is excited to meet the congregation and find out what their interests, hopes, likes and dislikes are within the synagogue.
“What I’d like to do is get to know all of the members, and work with them to find out what they are looking for,” said Wasserman. “I don’t want to come in and push my own agenda. It’s their synagogue. I want to make sure the things I do are what they want to do, too.”
Wasserman was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in New York in 2004 and has been a rabbi ever since. She was born in Paramus, N.J. and raised in Texas prior to her college experience. Since being ordained, she has worked in New Jersey, South Carolina and Florida.
Wasserman, along with husband Rabbi Jeremy Master and their two children, have re-located this summer from South Carolina to Longmeadow, Mass., where Master works full time as a rabbi. The family will remain there, and Wasserman will travel the 40 minute commute to Southington once a month for worship.
“My goal is to be there for the community, to guide them religiously and spiritually,” said the new rabbi. “I hope we will be here for a while.”
Wasserman comes with experience from synagogues of all sizes and feels ready to take on the Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation.
“Since I was a child, I had always wanted to become a rabbi,” she recalled. “There’s something special to me about being Jewish, and being part of a community. I hope my enthusiasm can translate, and be contagious to the members.”
The new rabbi said she has always had a strong interest in religion overall, not just limited to Judaism. She hopes to take her interests and inspire others. Wasserman officially started her new position on Aug. 1.
The upcoming annual picnic, located at Rec Park in Plantsville (rain date: Aug. 12), is a social event that provides an opportunity for individuals and families interested in learning more about the congregation to meet members in a relaxed setting and find out more about events and the community as a whole.
The congregation will observe High Holiday Services, beginning Rosh Hashanah on Sunday night, Sept. 9 and Monday, Sept. 10. Yom Kippur services will begin with Kol Nidre on Sept. 18, and will continue on Sept. 19, concluding with a community breakfast.
The synagogue was established in 1984 by families interested in creating a Jewish presence in town, and made its spiritual home in the Southington First Congregational Church on the town green. The first priority of the group, according to their website, was to make each person feel like a family member.
For more information about Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation, visit www.gsjc.org or call (860) 276-9113.