A Sampling From Thank You Notes
  • "I hope you know how highly regarded you are in our community. Your compassion, menchlichkeit, sense of humor and courage take you to where other Orthodox Rabbis refuse to go. You are to be congratulated!"
  • " You have given me the greatest gift that I have ever received in my entire life. I wouldn’t have considered speaking at my aunt’s funeral without your encouragement. For that I am truly grateful."
  • "How can we ever thank you again and again….what a wonderful ceremony! We heard from many people that it was the best wedding they ever attended. Thank you for bringing beauty and your humor into the ceremony."
  • "Thank you for the beautiful and touching Baby Naming ceremony for our daughter. We will remember this day the rest of our lives because of your thoughtfulness, warmth and sense of humor."
  • "Thank you for your steadfast participation in our annual Holocaust Memorial programs. Your spiritual leadership and respectful posture always help to set the tone for the program. Your skill in front of an audience, and sensitivity with the speakers was spectacular."
  • " You are and were outstanding on Sunday evening. You have talents that had me tapping my feet. The love, respect and warmth in the ballroom were palpable. Your influence, your ecumenism and your menchlichkeit are a blessing to us in Baltimore."
  • "Your sermons are incredible! You have a quick wit, terrific sense of humor, outstanding delivery and offer deep, thought-provoking topics. I personally experienced very deep emotions during your sermons."
  • "You were simply a delight. Your quick wit and lighthearted approach in teaching Judaism kept everyone alert, thoughtful and animated. Thank you for sharing your beliefs and faith with us."
  • "You have been a wonderful colleague to all of us in the Baltimore community. I differ with you on Judaism and politics. Yet, I cannot think of anyone I know who is as gracious, fair, gentle, strong, passionate, committed and kind in tone, word and deed as you. You are a model for any Rabbi and an exemplary representative of the Jewish people."
  • "I was very impressed with your talk to the Bar Mitzvah. It was by far the best one I’ve ever heard, and I must have been to hundreds."
  • " You are a very special person. Warm, funny, interesting, great speaker. You are really doing exactly what you were meant to be doing in this life. You have a real gift for making Jews from all different branches feel right at home. You are the best!"
  • "You are the most generous and comforting person I know. I thank you for your energy, your capacity for giving, your wisdom and your humor. You have more than you could ever know for me. You are the essence of why Rabbis have been put on Earth."
  • "Your gentle manner and acute insights are a powerful combination. "
  • "Your voice, your presence, your aura, and your sermons all have the ability to soothe and calm the soul"
  • "We wanted to send you a note to let you know what an amazing service you performed for our wedding. Our guests are only talking about two things: the lamb chops and your service."
  • "Thank you for spending several hours with us by my father’s bedside. You provided my father with a source of comfort and raised my family’s spirirt. Thank you for delivering a wonderful eulogy. We view you as a major source of comfort to us every time we see you."
  • "I know that people say you’re great, you’re caring, you’re there when needed, you’re loving, you’re this or you’re that…well, those people are right. Hashem could not have designed a more perfect Rabbi."
  • "Thank you for your visit to our Adult Day Care. This was the largest and most enthusiastic audience ever seen here for a Rabbi!"
  • "We are amazed each time by your eloquence, great humor and sincere words of comfort. You are what every Rabbi aspires to and few even can compare. Your warmth, the ability to connect with each person during crisis or joy, is met by true depth and emotion. Thank you for being you!"
  • "The beautiful wedding ceremony you created for us to mark our 50th wedding anniversary was more meaningful to us than we could have ever imagined. So many of our friends have told us how deeply your words touched them."
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About Rabbi Adler (a little longer, but worthwhile)

Who is Rabbi Elan Adler?

I was born in Israel, a son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. At the age of 6 ½, our family moved to America, landing for 2 years in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and then Providence, Rhode Island where my parents, sister, brother and his family still reside. I attended and graduated from the Providence Hebrew Day School and its high chool division, the New England Academy of Torah. It was not yet in vogue in those days to spend a year of study in Israel following graduation, neither did I want to leave Providence. So where does a yarmulke-wearing, Sabbath-observing young man go to college? That’s right, the Dominican-run Providence College, where 95% of the faculty was either a “Father” or a “Sister”, and brother, it was heaven. The faculty and student body treated me with respect and deference, and I appreciated that, at a time when openly Jewish kids on other campuses across the country were attacked or berated. As a transition school between the Orthodox and secular worlds, Providence College was perfect and still has my deep appreciation.

I served for one year as New England Regional Director of NCSY (National Conference of Synagogue Youth), and then attended and graduated Rhode Island College.

It was on to Yeshiva University in New York’s upper Manhattan to pursue Rabbinic studies. While there, I was inspired by many outstanding Rabbis and personalities, on a campus rich with tradition, faith and excellence. I was blessed to be involved in hundreds of youth programs run by the outreach arm of Yeshiva University (many of those programs with Richard Joel, current President of Yeshiva University), doubly blessed to be the Director of the high school dormitory for 5 years, and triply blessed to be appointed as one of several aides to the world-renowned Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik for two years in the early 1980’s. Now, that’s an experience you don’t forget- setting appointments and welcoming them into Rabbi Soloveitchik’s apartment, helping the Rav to read various Talmudic texts in small print, bring the Rabbi to various functions and meetings on campus, and even flying with him many times to Boston. Those two years at the feet of one of the greatest minds and leaders of the Jewish people was a rare privilege enjoyed by a tiny few, and thank God I was among them.

After receiving my rabbinic ordination, I enjoyed 7 years as the Assistant and then Associate Rabbi of the 800-family Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut (those were exciting years with outstanding guests speakers and Cantors, engaged by philanthropic members Carl and Dorothy Bennet, original owners of the entire CalDor chain of stores). Former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, attorney and author Alan Dershowitz and other luminaries ascended our podium often, while we enjoyed the occasional presence of Agudath Sholom’s favorite son, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. After several years in Stamford, I began the first of 17 years in Baltimore, Maryland as the Associate Rabbi of the 1300-family Beth Tfiloh Congregation. During my 7 ½ years there, I was made to feel like THE Rabbi of many hundreds of families, and also was invited to be on the boards of several communal institutions and to speak in dozens of interfaith settings. It was in Baltimore where I was privileged to develop a high community profile, and was often called on to contribute articles to the Baltimore Jewish Times and appear on local television news for comments on Jewish or interfaith issues.

And it was also in Baltimore where God blessed me with the greatest gift ever, meeting an outstandingly gifted woman (Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler) with two beautiful daughters (Ariella and Shani), and having all four of us unite under the same chuppah (wedding canopy) on December 11, 1996. Our wedding was attended by 1500 people in the Beth Tfiloh sanctuary, including the entire day school and staff, congregation members, close family, and friends, and was covered by various media.

After having been mentored by exceptional Rabbis over the years- Joseph Ehrenkranz in Stamford and Mitchell Wohlberg at Beth Tfiloh, I finally received the invitation every Rabbi desires: to be THE Rabbi of a congregation. With great joy, I accepted the invitation of the Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Congregation in Baltimore to become their new Rabbi. While only a fraction of the size of previous congregations that I served, it was to be the highlight of my Rabbinic career, with a warmth and friendliness and charm that drew in over 100 families during my almost 10-year tenure. Our synagogue was on the map for its creative programming, dedicated core of volunteers and loyal membership, and a willingness by the good-hearted leadership to let the Rabbi speak his mind on controversial issues of the day. Whether it was full and unqualified support for Israel, including aliyah, or horror at the 2005 Gaza disengagement, or being on a panel following the showing of a movie about Orthodox homosexuals, or expressing shock at Rabbinic apathy in the face of sexual abuse by clergy, or stating my feelings about Jews for Jesus or Rabbis officiating at intermarriages, I was always ready to be open with my congregation and community. Rather than being shunned or marginalized for my honesty, I felt my frankness and integrity complimented by being the first Orthodox Rabbi in Baltimore elected as the President of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis, from 2004-2006. During my years at Moses Montefiore, I also was twice named co-chair with Shoshana S. Cardin, respected world Jewish leader, of the Baltimore Jewish Leadersip Assembly, bring together leaders of all Jewish organizations in Maryland for discussion, planning, networking and action. At my installation as Rabbi of MMAE, as well as at my Farewell dinner, I was privileged to have speakers with whom I’ve developed a warm rapport- NAACP former President Keisi Mfume, Cardinal Willaim Keeler of Baltimore, Shoshana Cardin, Senator Ben Cardin, Baltimore TV legend Richard Sher, Rabbinic colleagues and communal leaders who encouraged me through their example to serve, inspire and educate the wide face of God in Baltimore and beyond.

Farewell dinner? You may be asking, Rabbi, after nearly 25 years in the Rabbinate, happily married to Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler and the Abba of Ariella  and Shani, seemingly at the top of your game, with your very own congregation, what’s with the farewell dinner? Why go anywhere?

\Where do I go from Baltimore, where the Jewish people were always in my heart? To Israel, the heart of the Jewish people. Israel, where my wife wanted to come for years, where my older daughter moved to in September, 2009, where I was born, the Jewish people’s homeland and brightest future, the place where God desired Jewish people to come since his promise to Abraham and Sarah 3800 years ago.

Where does a Jew go after Baltimore?

We came home to Israel on our Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah flight on July 7, 2010, with God’s help, and are living and loving our dream. We live in Maale Adumim, less than a half hour from the Dead Sea, a beautiful community of nearly 40,000 people- modern, clean, kid friendly, and only a few minutes by car from Jerusalem.

After nearly 50 years on the road, it’s nice to come home!


 

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