Rabbi Barnett J. Brickner
Thank you for taking a moment to learn about our congregation. I am proud to be the Rabbi of such a dynamic and diverse spiritual community. We truly are a caring congregation whose worship is lively and engaging, whose education is relevant and participatory and whose doors are open to all people looking for meaning and love in their life.
My rabbinate is grounded in three basic beliefs: 1) That we are a people with an abiding ability to create a world of good. 2) That a life worth living is a life shared. 3) That we are all entwined in a dynamic relationship with a life-affirming, loving God.
Jewish tradition speaks undoubtedly to the importance of everyone being a part of something greater than one’s self in order for life to have meaning. The Jewish mystical tradition speaks of one’s obligation to seek out and reveal the many facets of divinity hidden throughout the world. I am proud to belong to a community of people who embrace this tradition and strive to teach these values. Through our congregation’s engagement in tefilah (worship), avodah (life long learning) and g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness), I believe our congregation represents Jewish life at its very best.
“I believe our congregation represents Jewish life at its very best.”
My Background and Rabbinate
I am proud to say that I am a third generation Reform Rabbi. I was born In Washington, D.C., and grew up in the town of Larchmont, just outside of New York City. I was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1987 and I have more than 20 years of congregational experience serving both large and small congregations across America. I have been here at Temple Israel of Alameda since 2012.
Locally, I am president of the East Bay Council of Rabbis and co-chair of the Alameda Interfaith Coalition. I also am a member of the Alameda Hospital Ethics Committee and a member of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County. And I have worked with the East Bay JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) to organize the first East Bay area annual Halaqa Seder: An Evening of Sharing Muslim and Jewish Perspectives on the Exodus.
Nationally, I have served on the Union of Reform Judaism’s Advisory Board of the National Federation of Temple Youth, and have been a member of the Religious Action Center’s National Commission on Social Action. I have served as a board member of the Association of Reform Zionists of America. And, I have helped develop the Introduction to Judaism curriculum for the Union of Reform Judaism.
In addition to my involvement with the Reform Movement, I have served as an adjunct member of the faculty at Otterbein College’s Religion and Philosophy Department and as the Scholar-in-Residence in various communities, teaching medical ethics and the ethics of attending to the terminally ill. I completed a residency as a chaplain at The Ohio State Medical Center and have become very involved in the field of pastoral care.
More recently, I was honored with the 2016 Community Peace Award given by California Assemblyman Rob Bonta for my leadership at Temple Israel and in the community.
Though I take great pride in all these accomplishments, I am most proud of my family. My wife, Erin, and our children Alex, Kyle, Eve and Sam fill me with joy and gratitude.