Volunteer Spotlight July 2023: Rabbi Aaron Weininger
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I’m proud to be part of the Twin Cities Jewish community. After 11 years, I’m also proud to call myself a Minnesotan (if I’m allowed). There’s always a bit of New Yorker in me, though, especially pizza and bagels. I’ve been fortunate to serve as a rabbi at Adath Jeshurun Congregation since 2012, following my ordination, and live in Minneapolis.
What JFCS programs do you volunteer with?
I’m in my second term as a member of the JFCS Board of Directors and serve on the Advocacy Committee. Most recently, just a few weeks ago, I helped lead the J-Pride Shabbat morning service at Loring Park during the Pride Festival.
What does your current volunteer role consist of?
I value the collaborative nature of JFCS and the invitation for clergy to partner and jump into different roles behind the scenes and more publicly. “Here for all. Always” means working together and building together, and that touches different constituencies and communities, in quiet pastoral moments and in larger settings.
What motivated you to begin volunteering with JFCS?
The mission of JFCS is connected to how I think about my rabbinate – about connecting the spark of each person through the warmth of building community. So many outstanding lay leaders and professional staff at JFCS have been models for thoughtful, kind, and courageous leadership.
What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS and how has it impacted your life?
My favorite part is community, both with familiar faces and community that is built through an ever-expanding circle of new faces.
Do you have a memorable story about your JFCS volunteer experience to share?
After the J-Pride service concluded at the festival, two different people from the LGBTQ community came up to the makeshift “bimah” between the Target photo booth and shrimp on a stick. One told me they just moved the day before from Washington D.C. and stumbled across our service. The other person heard us praying and saw us dancing, and hadn’t been to a Jewish service in years. They had stayed away from the Jewish community. The prominence and visibility of such an affirming space of LGBTQ folks and allies was healing.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with JFCS?
Stop reading here, and start volunteering!
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