Rabbi David J. Fine, PhD
A Message from Rabbi David J. Fine, PhD
Welcome to Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center (TI-JCC), a unique synagogue community in Bergen County that is home to two congregations. Here you will find a Jewish spiritual home in Ridgewood that is committed to the finest Jewish traditions of supporting the wider community, contributing to a better world, working together to build bridges with our neighbors, educating ourselves and our children in the traditions of Judaism, and maintaining those traditions through prayer and Sabbath and festival observances. We are a warm community where discussions continue around the tables after services, where friendships are made, and where families are nurtured.
I am the senior rabbi at TI-JCC and the spiritual leader of Temple Israel, an egalitarian Conservative congregation where men and women participate equally, and all are welcome. During Friday services I take questions from the congregation; on Shabbat morning I teach a chapter from the Mishnah. We read the Torah each week in the main sanctuary, led by a cadre of wonderful Torah readers from the congregation. I generally lead a discussion on Shabbat morning when the congregation never fails to challenge me in different ways of understanding Torah.
Our services are participatory for all ages and our discussions are open to all views and perspectives, which you will also find at RCBI, our Reconstructionist congregation which meets upstairs under the guidance of Rabbi Leiah Moser. Our various programs for families and individuals focus on holidays, social action, learning and community-building.
Our religious school, led by Jessica Spiegel, offers a unique program of Hebrew language instruction, synagogue skills, Jewish traditions, cultural literacy and a broad-based introduction to the rhythms and texture of Jewish life.
I welcome the opportunity to speak more with you, either in person or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please be in touch, or come visit and introduce yourself to me after services. And please, come enjoy our diverse services and programs; our doors are always open to new faces.
Rabbi David J. Fine, PhD, has served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Ridgewood since 2009. Rabbi Fine is also an adjunct professor at the Abraham Geiger College (a liberal rabbinical seminary) at the University of Potsdam in Germany, where he teaches Jewish law. Prior to assuming the pulpit in Ridgewood, he served as rabbi of Shaarei Tikvah in Scarsdale, NY and before that, as assistant to the executive vice president and secretary of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards at the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.
Rabbi Fine completed his doctorate in modern European history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and his rabbinical ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in history from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, with a year spent at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Rabbi Fine has published extensively in the areas of Jewish law, Conservative Judaism and German Jewish history. Jewish Integration in the German Army in the First World War (De Gruyter, Berlin, 2012) is based on his doctoral dissertation.
Rabbi Fine is active in community affairs, serving as president of the New Jersey Rabbinical Assembly. He is the immediate past president of the Ridgewood interfaith clergy council, secretary of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis, and treasurer of the Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies. He lives in Ridgewood with his wife, Alla, and their sons, Laurence and Ariel.
During football season, for Rabbi Fine, few activities can compete with watching his beloved NY Jets, especially when he can catch them live at the Meadowlands. In the spring time, look for him at CitiField. Rabbi Fine is a also a lifelong self-described “Trekkie,” who has helped us all understand the subtle references to Talmudic law and lore embedded in the classic Star Trek television series. His wife, Alla, a Jewish émigré from the former Soviet Union, has introduced him to the pleasures of borscht, blinis and other Russian delicacies found in abundance in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, a.k.a. “Little Odessa” neighborhood. Historical fiction is a favorite when Rabbi Fine is reading for pleasure.