Rabbi Brad Bloom ’84
Doctor of Hebrew Letters Student
Doctor of Hebrew Letters student Rabbi Brad Bloom ’84 of Congregation Beth Yam Synagogue of Hilton Head, SC, in the Reform tradition shared about an experience around 9/11 with his community. He reflects on what he has learned over the years as a rabbi and now as a Doctor of Hebrew Letters (D.H.L.) student.
“Twenty years later, I continue to recognize even more today about how important it is to reach out and speak with groups and constituencies that are not like me or who do not necessarily share the same values that I do on a variety of subjects. But cultivating personal relationships is still possible and can lead to greater understanding. Jews should always be bridge builders. We are about partnerships – not always with those with whom we agree, but also with those with whom we do not always agree. This can prove to be productive and in the best interest of the Jewish community.
I have been a student in the D.H.L. program for quite a few years. I am working on my dissertation with Rabbi Gary Zola, Ph.D. In studying the Rabbis and their views about the nature of Jewish identity in the 1920s through the pages of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Yearbooks, I feel sometimes like I have a window on the creation of the history that we are living through today. When I read some of their viewpoints on fundamental issues of Jewish identity back then, I see how far we have come and how we have preserved the spirit of change that they envisioned. My D.H.L. certainly has expanded my horizons in understanding my own thinking as well as engaging clergy and my congregants to nurture a progressive Judaism that fits in our society now, but also bears witness to the our rabbinic forbearers who tilled the soil years ago for us today. Congregation Beth Yam is proud that we could contribute to mentoring and teaching student professionals. These opportunities have had a long term effect on our congregation and the students.”