Lipnick Foundation brings Wolfson to town as scholar-in-residence


Dr. Ron Wolfson, author of God’s To-Do List: 103 Ways to be an Angel and Do God’s Work on Earth, is this year’s speaker at Congregation B’nai Amoona’s second annual Rabbi Bernard Lipnick Foundation for Conservative Judaism Scholar-in-Residence Weekend, Sept. 7-9. The weekend, entitled “Preparing Your Heart for the High Holy Days,” will begin on Friday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. with a Kabbalat Shabbat, dinner, and discussion.

“Dr. Wolfson was the natural choice for this honor,” Rabbi Lipnick, rabbi emeritus of B’nai Amoona and in whose name the foundation was created, said. “Rabbi Rose has the practice, at the time of the high holidays, of assigning a book for the congregation to read. This book is designed for use during the holidays because it asks people to try to imitate God’s ways on earth.”


Lipnick said that the book and Dr. Wolfson’s visit are natural tie-ins with the congregation’s emphasis on performing mitzvot.

Jane Rubin, co-chair of the weekend along with Karen Stern, emphasized the significance of the book’s theme and the upcoming holidays. “The timing is noteworthy because the weekend will be a good way to prepare people for the high holidays,” Rubin said. “It’s a good way to begin to contemplate how to experience the month of Elul.”

Dr. Wolfson will be addressing a couple of topics during his visit: transforming a congregation into a sacred community; and doing God’s work on earth. Stern, who has already read the book, highly recommends it. “Dr. Wolfson brings the Ten Commandments to everyday life, like sending e-mails to sick friends,” Stern said. She was so impressed by the simple practicality of the suggestions in the book that she has already implemented a few of them. “I have become more aware, in our very busy lives, of the importance of sending that extra e-mail just to say thank you or ask how are you feeling or do you need help,” Stern said. “After sending one of those e-mails I heard back from a friend who called me to thank me for thinking of her.”

One of the reasons why Wolfson was selected to be the scholar-in-residence is his co-founding of and participation in the Synagogue 3000 project. “The project’s purpose is to help congregations transform themselves in the new millennium to meet the needs of their constituency,” Rabbi Carnie Rose of B’nai Amoona, said. “He talks about creating a welcoming synagogue, creating a warm welcoming community.”

The community is invited to Friday night’s events but reservations are required for the dinner. Saturday morning, at around 10:45 a.m., Wolfson will discuss “The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform a Congregation into a Sacred Community.” A Kiddush luncheon will follow services. Selichot and dessert are at 9 p.m. when Wolfson will discuss “God’s To-Do List: 103 Ways to be an Angel and Do God’s Work on Earth.” The weekend will also kick-off B’nai Amoona’s Shomrei Torah endowment campaign to ensure financial stability for the congregation’s future. “We maintain that the congregation is in the business of creating Jews who are faithful to the Jewish vocation of doing God’s work on earth,” Lipnick said, “so we need to ensure our continuance.”

Rose hopes attendees learn from Wolfson, who once served as Lipnick’s assistant, the importance of synagogues and their place as portals of entry to the future to sustain North American Jewry; and the ability to see themselves in an elevated state of being God’s emissaries and messengers. “If we are able to see ourselves in this light, it changes our perspective of what life’s about,” Rose said.

Rose also said the weekend is a great tribute to Lipnick because he has not only trained lay people but also Jewish professionals of national and international import, such as Wolfson. “I hope attendees can draw pride and joy from Rabbi Lipnick’s handiwork which has made an impact not just here but nationally and internationally.”

Echoing Rose’s recognition of Lipnick’s contributions, Rubin, who first got involved in this special annual event last year when her family played host to speaker Rabbi Irwin Kula, said one of her favorite parts of co-chairing the weekend has been working with the rabbis. In addition to being a long-time congregant and supporter of Rabbi Lipnick’s, Rubin expressed her appreciation of Rabbi Rose’s openness to bringing in other rabbis and speakers into the community. “He opens up our community and our minds,” Rubin said. “He’s an incredible teacher and I believe in his philosophy of bringing in speakers.”

For more information about the weekend or to make a reservation, contact Barbara at 314-576-9990, x126.