Society Hill Synagogue (SHS) is proud to announce that the Jewish Daily Forward has named our Rabbi, Avi Winokur, as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis.” The Forward solicited nominations from congregations nationwide and selected thirty-three Rabbis as the most inspiring leaders.
SHS President, Debbie Stewart, was elated. “We are extremely proud of Avi Winokur. He inspires and enlightens us every day, and we are so happy he is being recognized nationally.”
Rabbi Winokur said, “I am humbled to receive this recognition. It says as much about the people that I work with and the wonderful congregants who make up Society Hill Synagogue as it does about me. Although the other honorees include some rabbinic luminaries, what stands out and gives me pride is that most of my co-honorees are the rabbis in the trenches, operating below the headlines to serve the congregants and others that they cherish in ways that make a difference in people’s lives.”
The Forward cited nominations by seven members of the synagogue, including Board of Directors member Debby Freedman, who wrote: “Rabbi Avi Winokur has been a leader in many ways. He is warm and welcoming, but also insightful. His combination of intelligence and passion has brought many new and diverse members to our synagogue. Rabbi Winokur has a son who struggles with very serious health conditions. Watching the grace with which Rabbi Winokur handles this tremendous struggle inspires many members of the congregation to bear their own burdens better — including me. Rabbi Winokur inspires the Hebrew school students with his love of learning and his interest in their own spiritual journeys. He spends many hours one-on-one with each B’nai Mitzvah candidate, which makes the experience more meaningful. Because he has made it such a wonderful process, we are seeing adults becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and many more who have become very engaged in adult education. Rabbi Winokur also teaches adult education classes and has spread Jewish learning throughout our community; members and non-members flock to his classes. Rabbi Winokur has been a leader in promoting the synagogue’s social justice efforts; recently, he spoke at rallies in support of public school funding and fair wages. During the past five years, I have had breast cancer and my husband died, and Rabbi Winokur was there to support me through it all.”
About Rabbi Winokur: Rabbi Winokur is graduate and Board member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He has been Rabbi at Society Hill Synagogue since 2001 after serving as Rabbi for several other congregations. With an energetic and engaging style, Rabbi Winokur has participated in panel discussions in New York City at the 92nd Street Y and at the JCC of the Upper West Side, and he has taught classes in Philadelphia, at the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, among other places.
About Society Hill Synagogue: Located near 5th and Spruce Streets, Society Hill Synagogue is a vibrant, egalitarian congregation, welcoming people of all backgrounds and approaches to Judaism. We serve the religious, educational, cultural and social needs of the Jewish community in Center City Philadelphia and its environs. Our religious services are based on the Conservative liturgy. From our Playschool and Hebrew School to our adult education programs, we provide exciting opportunities for lifelong learning and spiritual growth.