Posted: 19 July 2017
Rabbi Allison Conyer has started her tenure as the Progressive Consulting Rabbi in support of the congregation.
She replaces Jonathan Keren-Black, whose role as the shul’s Consulting Rabbi since 2010 came to an end when he officiated at the aufruf of Maxine Glanger and Lev Fridgant on May 6 this year.
Rabbi Conyer’s day-job—apart from helping to raise four children alongside husband Bryan—is at Etz Chayim synagogue in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh, where she became the spiritual leader at the beginning of 2014.
Originally, she hails from Los Angeles, and was ordained in New York in 1998. However, Rabbi Conyer has spent a large part of her life in Australia in two separate stints.
The first was at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney, where she was the Associate Rabbi for nearly eight years as well as the first female rabbi in NSW.
After some time back in California directing a campus branch of the Hillel Jewish student organisation, she returned to Sydney in 2009 to teach at the Emanuel School. Later, she moved to Melbourne with her family to take up the post at Etz Chayim.
Progressive consulting rabbis have the task of providing support to smaller communities like Hobart’s that lack the resources to employ a rabbi of their own. They are appointed by the Moetzah, the council of Progressive Rabbis in the Asia-Pacific region, in conjunction with the host congregation.
As we know from Rabbi Keren-Black’s regular visits to Hobart, the most public duty performed by consulting rabbis is to lead services and educational sessions in their host communities over at least one frenetic weekend every year.
But they also help behind the scenes by giving advice on ritual, liturgical, and halachic questions, and by passing on their knowledge of people and resources in the wider Jewish world.
Rabbi Keren-Black was an outstanding mentor in all these areas, and was a popular visitor throughout his tenure. He is now serving as the consulting rabbi to the Progressive congregations of New Zealand.
We will shortly have a chance to welcome Rabbi Conyer to Hobart during her first stay as our Consulting Rabbi. Dates for the visit will be announced soon.