TI’s Rabbi Feder may succeed Rabbi Shook

The Board of Trustees at Congregation Temple Israel voted overwhelmingly last week to accept the Rabbinic Transition Committee’s recommendation to name Rabbi Amy Feder as the congregation’s next senior rabbi. In the near future, the congregation will be asked to ratify the board’s selection. Assuming that occurs, Feder would ascend to the position of senior rabbi on July 1, when Rabbi Mark L. Shook, the current senior rabbi, retires.

Feder would be the seventh spiritual leader of the congregation’s 123-year history. A St. Louis native, she became both a bat mitzvah and a confirmand at Temple Israel, #1 Alvan D. Rubin Drive in Creve Coeur. Feder lives in University City with her husband, Rabbi Michael Alper, who also is a member of the clerical staff at Temple Israel. They have a year-old son, Jonah.


“I am so thrilled that the board has shown this kind of confidence in me and support for me,” said Feder, 31. “Michael and I are both so exited about the future of Temple Israel.”

Feder began working as the assistant rabbi at Temple Israel in 2006, after her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. She also holds a masters degree in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR. In 2001, she graduated from the University of Michigan, where her focus was music and Judaic studies.

Prior to coming to Temple Israel, Feder served in rabbinic and educational capacities in Jerusalem, Long Island and St. Louis, as well as several small towns throughout the southeastern United States. As part of her rabbinic training, she worked as a chaplain at New York University Hospital and taught at the Millers Honors High School program.

At Temple Israel, Feder has taught at the Deutsch Early Childhood Center and served as a liaison to several youth groups.

“The board of trustees is delighted with our selection,” said Dr. David Weinstein, board president. “After a national search, we now know what we previously suspected – that Rabbi Feder is absolutely the right rabbi to lead our congregation into the future.”

Shook agrees. “I think this is wonderful news for the temple and for the community,” he said. “Rabbi Feder is so talented, and we are so lucky to have her – we have already heard great enthusiasm from the congregation about this recommendation.”

Shook has been senior rabbi since 1987. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he was ordained from HUC-JIR in 1972. He serves on the Board of Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis and is chairman of the governance committee on the board at Ranken-Jordan, a pediatric specialty hospital. He is an adjunct professor of philosophy at St. Louis University. Shook also serves as a police chaplain for the City of Creve Coeur and for St. Louis County.

After his retirement, Shook will continue to serve the congregation as rabbi emeritus.