Feinberg comes from Oslo, Norway, where she is the first woman rabbi, and a believer in Jewish Renewal, an emerging stream of Judaism that blends mystical, Chasidic, musical and meditative practices. The practice of Jewish Renewal is slowly taking root in the Pittsburgh area.
While in Pittsburgh, Feinberg will be the guest this week of Rabbi Adalah Caplowe, a Jewish Renewal rabbi, and will speak during Shabbat at Caplow’s chavura, Ohr Nistar.
Jewish Renewal, according to Feinberg, gives a place for spiritual growth, and a balance in life.
“I got into Jewish Renewal through books,” she said. “I began to realize that there is a different Jewish world out there.”
There are fewer than 1,000 affiliated Jews in Norway, and only two synagogues, both of which are Orthodox. Prior to her embrace of Jewish Renewal, Feinberg, a single mother, said she could only sit apart from her sons during services.
“It disqualified me from influencing my children’s understanding of the service,” she said.
This made her aware, she said, of inherent gender issues related to Judaism, and spurred her interest to do something about it. This, among other reasons, attracted her to Jewish Renewal.
Feinberg has been the rabbi at Havurat Kol haLev since January 2009. She describes her synagogue as a small place of gathering for Jewish celebrations, holidays and rituals.
Feinberg is also an external consultant at the Jewish Museum of Oslo. While working at the museum, she runs the exhibit “The Jewish Year: Everything has its time.” She spends time setting up the exhibit, which features the Jewish year cycle, festivals, holidays and days of remembrance.
Feinberg is not hesitant to talk about Jewish Renewal. She will take the time to explain exactly what Jewish Renewal is and why it is important to her.
“I came from a very traditional Jewish setting where I had a very limited role,” Feinberg said. “I just feel at home with Jewish Renewal.”
(Brandt Gelman can be reached at email@example.com.)
Want to go?
Contact Rabbi Adalah Caplowe at firstname.lastname@example.org for service times and location.