Posted on July 10, 2013
Congratulations to Robin Hoffman! She is now Rabbi Robin Hoffman. In ceremonies held in Los Angeles in June, she, and seven of her fellow classmates, were granted Smicha (ordination) by the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA (AJRCA), a transdenominational rabbinic school dedicated to training men and women to become spiritual leaders to serve all Jews and Jewish movements. Among an extensive contingent of family and friends cheering her on, in the audience were TBD members Ros Sudakow (Mother), Max and Florence Sudakow (Uncle and Aunt), and lifelong friends Bernie and Lois Beskind.
In the process of receiving her ordination, Rabbi Hoffman earned a Master’s Degree in Rabbinic Studies during the rigorous five-year program which included studies in Bible, Liturgy, Hebrew language, Talmud, History, Jewish Lifecycle Events, Trope and Cantillation, Spiritual Formation, and Musar. She also was required to serve as a rabbinic intern at a temple which she completed at Temple Beth David and she also had to write a thesis paper.
Of the many wonderful classes and teachers she had, the one that stands out the most for her was the training she received in Musar, whose aim is to achieve a greater inward awareness, a more religious piety, and to conduct oneself in a more ethical manner. She feels the study of Musar can greatly help the clergy in their work with individuals, as well as help lay individuals help themselves in their daily lives.
Robin’s journey to become a rabbi had been a dream and calling of hers for many years but several transformative work and life experiences stand out as being pivotal. She worked as a teacher with Irma Moskowitz at TBD and loved it very much and after that experience knew that she was on the right track toward where she wanted to go with her life.
Another experience that let her know that she had “rabbi” qualities occurred when she discovered that she was able to give pastoral care and comfort to a friend who was sadly, dying.
A third experience that was very important in her formation was working for the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center where she interacted with religious congregations and other service organizations such as the Rotary Club in helping them help children in need. It was there that she discovered her love of performing public service for those in need. As part of her job she also did a lot of public speaking before large and small groups and it was at this job she discovered that she enjoyed public speaking very much. She also had the opportunity to work with clergy from whom she learned much from and enjoyed immensely.
Rabbi Hoffman has been Director of Education at Congregation B’nai Israel for several years and intends to continue working there. She also recently took on a small pulpit in Irvine with a group that meets once a month for Friday night services called “Friends Exploring Judaism.” This organization has been in existence for many years and Rabbi Hoffman is very pleased to be servicing their pastoral needs. She will also be conducting their High Holiday services this year.
So what does Robin do in her spare time when she’s not preparing sermons or planning out her school’s curriculum? She enjoys the outdoors, reading — she is a voracious reader, and enjoys her newest hobby, geocaching, which is a kind of high tech treasure hunt where people use a GPS device to locate hidden containers left by others.
And what fact might be the most interesting to learn about Rabbi Hoffman? Before attending rabbinic school, she played 4 years of ice hockey in an adult beginner’s league! “It was a totally fun and crazy thing to do and I loved every minute of it,” says Robin, who might just use some of her playing day experiences as metaphors for some upcoming sermons!
We at TBD are so very proud and so very happy for Robin Hoffman on her becoming a Rabbi, and wish her much “Hatzlacha” success in her career, and we know that she will wear the mantle of Rabbi with much honor and distinction.