Rabbi Andrew Jacobs

Welcome to Blog Shalom – a place to share Jewish thoughts…

Blog Shalom contains many of the sermons, letters, and teachings that Rabbi Andrew shares with his congregation, Ramat Shalom, a synagogue in Plantation, Florida – right outside of Fort Lauderdale.  Rabbi Andrew has been at Ramat Shalom for more than a decade.  Rabbi Andrew welcomes your comments and hopes that if you visit Broward County and South Florida, you will stop by for a visit!

Meet Rabbi Andrew…

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“As soon as you meet him,” says one of Rabbi Andrew’s students, “you just know that he loves to teach.”

Rabbi Andrew’s adult education classes make Judaism come to life. His discussions with children and teens are challenging. He incorporates learning into services and holiday celebrations in ways that add to the meaning and spirituality of the moment.  On top of this, Rabbi Andrew is an incredibly warm and caring person.

“It is not enough for us to educate our children,” says Rabbi Andrew, “we must educate our families so that Judaism is part of our families’ lives.”

Committed to family education, Rabbi Andrew created “Adult Torah School” at Ramat Shalom, which meets on Sunday mornings, while children are in Torah School. Instead of dropping the kids off and doing some errands, parents can park the car, come into the synagogue with their children and learn along with them. ” This is what it is all about,” says Rabbi Andrew.

Committed to family education, Rabbi Andrew created “Adult Torah School” at Ramat Shalom, which meets on Sunday mornings, while children are in Torah School. Instead of dropping the kids off and doing some errands, parents can park the car, come into the synagogue with their children and learn along with them. ” This is what it is all about,” says Rabbi Andrew.

Rabbi Andrew was raised by Jewish parents, but had no real Jewish education growing up. His Jewish journey began when he was a student at Vassar College:

“It was my freshman year in college. I was doing a research project on my family’s immigration to the U.S for an American History course when I stumbled across a photo of my great-great grandfather. He was a rabbi. I remember looking at his photo and just feeling this incredible desire to reconnect to his culture…to my culture. That was the beginning of this amazing journey, a journey that thankfully continues today.”

Rabbi Andrew is proud of the fact that he became a bar mitzvah when he was 26 years old. As often explains, he knows firsthand what it feels like to have questions about Judaism and be too embarrassed to ask them. Rabbi Andrew frequently reminds his students that all questions are good questions, all questions can teach. And he believes that no matter what your Jewish background is, you have the potential to teach others. “We are all teachers and students,” is one of his favorite lines.

At Ramat Shalom, Rabbi Andrew often officiates at a Shabbat service where a child becomes a bar or bat mitzvah. The energy and warmth that Rabbi Andrew brings to each service is wonderful.

Rabbi Andrew was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. He holds a Masters of Arts in Jewish Art and Material Culture from the Jewish Theological Seminary in consortium with Columbia University and the Jewish Museum of New York. He has also studied at The American Jewish University in Los Angeles and The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During his years of study, Rabbi Andrew was greatly influenced by Kabbalah which he says allowed him to discover his own sense of spirituality and “a deep, powerful connection with God.” Many members of the Ramat Shalom community have been encouraged to explore their own beliefs and wrestle with their understanding of God as part of an intensive Spirituality Workshop led by the Rabbi.

Prior to coming to South Florida, Rabbi Andrew was the Assistant Rabbi at Bet Am Shalom Synagogue in White Plains, NY. For many years, he has been actively involved with many local and national Jewish organizations, including serving as a past President of the Broward County Board of Rabbis.  Rabbi Andrew is currently a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow.

Rabbi Andrew is a very strong supporter of Israel and is not shy when it comes to speaking up for the security and wellbeing of both Israel and the United States. Given his willingness to take a stand and his knowledge of radical extremist groups right here in the U.S., Rabbi Andrew is frequently called upon to engage community leaders in important conversations pertaining directly to our safety and the safety of our children.

Rabbi Andrew’s first children’s book, God Looks Like A Hug, was published in 2010. It is a wonderful story that captures a very spiritual conversation between a father and son. The book is illustrated by Rabbi Andrew and his two children.  He expects to publish another children’s book in late 2013.

Rabbi Andrew also writes for “grown ups”. Many of his sermons, articles and his weekly column can be found on this blog.  His podcasts can be found here.

Rabbi Andrew was recently awarded The Spirit of Family Award By Jewish Family Service of Broward County.  This award was presented to him in recognition of his efforts to support and compliment the work of Jewish Family Service, a social service agency which helps those in need of food, shelter, financial support, counseling and companionship.

Rabbi Andrew and his wife, Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs, have two children, Abigail and Jonah. The Jacobs family lives in Plantation with their two dogs, Douglas (a Maltese) and Ella (a Portugese Water Dog), two parakeets and two fish.  Rabbi Andrew can often be found running the streets of Plantation as he prepares for an upcoming half-marathon.

Contact Rabbi Andrew…

Feel free to contact Rabbi Andrew directly by calling 954-472-3600 or sending him an email. And make sure you friend him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RabbiJacobs.

2 thoughts on “Rabbi Andrew Jacobs

    • The Torah teaches us that for 7 days, we shall observe the rules and laws of Pesah. For seven days we shall eat matzah.

      Why 7 days?

      Seven days commemorates that time between the 10th plague and the resulting Exodus from Egypt which occurred on the 15th day of Nisan and the splitting of the Red Sea – which happened 7 days later on the 21st of Nisan.

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