First female Orthodox rabbi to speak in Miami

History will be made at 1 p.m. on May 19, when the first female Orthodox rabbi will be the guest speaker at a Community Celebration of Learning presented by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami.

Rabba Sara Hurwitz, who also is the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to train modern Orthodox women as spiritual leaders and authorities on Jewish law, will speak on the topic, "Open Your Eyes and Dream — Women’s Evolving Leadership in Orthodox Judaism." She will address the challenges and opportunities in her role and the contributions she is able to make that are distinctly different from men.

According to a study by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, since the first female rabbi in the Reform Jewish movement was ordained in 1972, over 600 of their 2,000 members have become Conservative and Reform rabbis. However, in the world of Orthodox Judaism, the title of rabbi has been reserved for men only. This is because according to the Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law, although women are encouraged to be present at prayer services, they are not allowed to count in a minyan (prayer quorum) or lead the prayer services.

Until now, the foremost way an Orthodox woman could serve as a community leader was through marriage to a rabbi, which bestowed on her the title of rebbetzin. Even so, the women did not receive the same Jewish education as their husbands.

For Hurwitz, the road to her position in the rabbinate is a natural evolution. She is the wife of an attorney and the mother of three children and through her own scholarship, her personal qualities and the extensive rabbinic training she has undergone, she is being given the opportunity for spiritual leadership in the Modern Orthodox community and now serves as a rabbi on the staff of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, N.Y.

In a press release she said, "Much of what a rabbi does in the Orthodox world goes far beyond those proscriptions, and it is in those other areas of pastoral care, counseling, and inspirational teaching that a woman’s spiritual leadership is not only permissible, but should be more prevalent. ... I see the emergence of Orthodox women rabbinic leaders as an inevitable evolution. It is only natural that women with access to high-level learning want to use that knowledge to help people navigate religious and ethical dilemmas. ... Additionally, now girls will also have spiritual role models with the power to inspire their greater engagement in religious life."

Tickets to the event are $18 per person and include a kosher gourmet dessert reception. For more information and to purchase tickets, call; 305-576-4030, exts. 117 and 128, or email

The event will be at Beth David Congregation, 2625 SW Third Ave. in Miami.

12 local clergy finish training in Atlanta

Congratulations to the 12 local students of The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, who on Friday will graduate from the 32-week Certificate of Theology Program in Atlanta at the West Hunter Street Baptist Church.

They are: Deacon Dwight D. Coleman, Deaconess Mitty S. Coleman, Minister Richard P. Dunn III, Andrew Fields, Deacon Elmo Garry, and Christine Harper.

Also, Minister Henrietta Harrison, Youth Pastor James Hines, the Rev. Willie B. Kelly II, Minister Garry Neal, Minister Susan Rolle, and Minister Gregory D. White.

The Interdenominational Theological Center is an accredited seminary and is the world’s largest African American seminary. Local classes are held at Faith Community Church, 10401 NW Eighth Ave., where the Rev. Richard P. Dunn II is the pastor. Faith Community Church is one of 12 site locations for the center across the country. Dunn received his Master of Divinity from the center in 1985, and has been asked to issue the Charge to the Graduates at the ceremony.

Camillus House celebrates black culture

Camillus House will celebrate black culture by recognizing the role of the black church in a private reception from 3 to 5 p.m. today at the newly built Norwegian Cruise Line campus of Camillus House at 1603 NW Seventh Ave.

The churches to be honored are: St. Agnes Episcopal, the Historic Mount Zion Baptist, Brothers of the Good Shepherd, Holy Redeemer Catholic, Mt. Tabor Baptist, Greater Bethel AME, and the United House of Prayer for All People.

The churches are being recognized for the "... hard work and dedication of these outstanding religious institutions and the clergy who represent them. Each church has made and continues to shepherd our community, reflecting the values that are the cornerstone f the Camillus House mission," said Paul Ahr, president and CEO of Camillus House.

Concert to benefit autistic kids

The fourth annual “Singing My Heart Out" concert will be at Beth David Congregation at 3 p.m. Sunday and will feature Cantor Julie Jacobs of Beth David, singer Aaron Edwards and pianists Ramon Dominguez and Pamela Schultz. The concert will benefit the synagogue’s Tikvah Center for children on the autism spectrum.

The singers will sing solo and as a duet, the songs written by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Kurt Weil, as well as a medley of songs from Walt Disney films.

Dancers Trisha Carter and Luke Stockton from Dance Now Miami, will perform "The Vertigo of Love," at the concert. Hannah Baumgarten, founder of Dance Now Miami and the choreographed the dance said, "The dance is an expression of how we all can achieve greater self-esteem, and fits into the theme of the Beth David show."

Funds raised will be used for scholarship programs for students in all areas of the congregation’s Gordon schools and will also pay tribute to all teachers in the schools ho will be honored at the concert. Beth David is at 2625 SW Third Ave. Tickets are $20 each and free to children under 18. Call 305-854-3911 for tickets and more information or go to,

Event to highlight mentoring program

The community is invited to the 31st annual Iphilam Phantasia — the presentation of the 2013 Gems and Gents at 6 p.m. Saturday at Greater Love Baptist Church, 18200 NW 22nd Ave.

Presented by the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Gems and Gents are sixth grade boys and girls selected from schools throughout Miami Dade and Broward counties to participate in the sorority’s outreach mentoring program. Its object is to foster a positive concept in youngsters at an early age.

"Our desire is to motivate the youth by exposing them to educational enrichment sessions as well as cultural, recreational, and spiritual activities," said Hattie Burnett, a member of the sorority. "We take pride in presenting them to the community in an impressive cotillion which culminates their tenure in the program.’’

The sorority is lead by Ivis Richardson, and Helen Reed is chairwoman of the event. It’s free.

Pentecost Festival at Church of God Tabernacle

Bishop Walter H. Richardson, pastor and overseer of The Church of God Tabernacle, 1351 NW 67th St., invites the community to the annual Pentecost Feast, which starts at 10 a.m. Sunday and will culminate on May 19. The "Feast" is a spiritual celebration of the out pouring of the Holy Ghost on believers and is also the birthday of the Christian church.

Worship services will be at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays and at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. There will be no services on Saturday.

The Church of God Tabernacle/Miami, will serve as the host church, as members from the churches at Belle Glade, Vero Beach and Valdosta, GA, join in the celebration. The occasion will be celebrated with preaching, music by t he church Mass Choir and special presentation from the members of the church. It’s free and open to the community.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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