Questioning faith in the parsha
Rabbi Jeffrey J. Sirkman was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1987. He received his B.A. in Religion with a concentration in Judaic Studies and a minor in Christianity and his M.A. in Theology, working under the guidance of Prof. Elie Wiesel at Boston University.
Coming to Larchmont Temple over 23 years ago as Education Director/Assistant Rabbi, he was instrumental in creating a vibrant and dynamic program of Jewish learning and living for nursery through college-age children.
As Senior Rabbi of Larchmont Temple since 1994, Rabbi Sirkman–in partnership with the spiritual leadership, has helped to create a covenant of congregational life, fostering personal Jewish commitment on the part of every member-household through an ever-developing relationship with Torah (Jewish Study), Avodah (Spiritual Search), and Gemilut Hasadim (Deeds of Sacred Kindness). In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the temple, the Covenant of Membership was affirmed as the sacred framework for the century to come.
Likewise, in partnership with local clergy, the Reverend Bill Crawford of the Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Sirkman created ‘Bridges’ a program fostering interfaith study, dialogue on issues of the day, and mutual understanding. Rabbi Sirkman & Reverend Crawford also share dialogue via TV in their monthly cable-access breakfast at the diner, “Faith & Eggs,” which was recognized with a National Cable Emmy for Interfaith Programming. Rabbi Sirkman also continues to strengthen the bridges of understanding between the African American and Jewish communities, partnering over the past 15 years with Bishop Wayne Powell of the Strait Gate Pentecostal Church in an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Exchange. The relationship has grown to include hundreds of congregants from church and temple in across-the-generations visits to Black Harlem, the Lower East Side, and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The Bridges program Rabbi Sirkman created—bringing teachers across the religious spectrum to share the unique gifts of their traditions with the Larchmont Temple community, was awarded a grant as a model for Interfaith understanding by the Continuity Commission of UJA-Federation. In addition, the Outreach Program of Larchmont Temple—building the bridge to Jewish life for interfaith families, was recognized nationally with a Belin Award from U.R.J. for “Rabbi’s Fireside Chats,” informed/informal living room dialogues exploring key life-cycle milestone moments.
Rabbi Sirkman has served as President of the Westchester Board of Rabbis, the umbrella organization uniting Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox congregation rabbis across the county. As well, Rabbi Sirkman served as the Chair of the Program Advisory Committee for the UAHC Eisner Camp Institute, and as a member of the Joint Youth Commission of the Reform Movement nationwide. In addition, Rabbi Sirkman serves as a Board member of the Westchester Jewish Conference. Having served on the Admissions Committee of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he currently is the Rabbi Stephen Wise Visiting Scholar at the College-Institute, teaching 5th year rabbinic and cantorial students weekly their professional development course known as Senior Seminar.
Rabbi Sirkman has published a series of holiday related comic books for the primary grades, and has illustrated several other books for Behrman House and K’Tav. He is gifted with a warm and loving family; his wife and sacred compass, Susan; his three sons, Aaron, Alexander and Gabriel, and his young daughter, Sophie.