Congregation Bnai Israel in Fleischmanns has announced the appointment of Rabbi Melinda Zalma as the historic Catskills synagogue’s new rabbi. She will lead services and teach weekly classes throughout the summer, beginning the weekend of June 27th.
Rabbi Zalma, who has previously served as the rabbi and spiritual leader at Congregation Beth Mordecai in Perth Amboy, N.J., is also a Chaplain (Lieutenant Commander) in the Reserve Component of the US Navy. She received her rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where she also received her Masters in Midrash (rabbinic commentary). Before turning to her rabbinical studies, she had obtained her B.A. in electrical engineering from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Adam, have two children.
Congregation Bnai Israel is an inclusive egalitarian synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Founded in 1918 by Jewish farmers, the synagogue, whose building at 347 Wagner Ave. in Fleischmanns is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the oldest in the Catskills.
Rabbi Zalma will officiate at Shabbat services beginning on Friday, June 26th, at 7:00 pm, and Saturday, June 27th, at 9:30 am, which are the regular weekend times that services will be conducted throughout the summer. Additionally, she will teach classes on Sunday mornings as part of Congregation Bnai Israel’s ongoing program of activities, which also include potluck Shabbat dinners, a Rosh Hodesh group (women’s discussion group), a film program, and a book club. Details about all activities and more can be found on the synagogue’s website at http://bnai-israel-fleischmanns-ny.org and on the synagogue’s Facebook page.