SCHENECTADY–Congregation Gates of Heaven will honor Rabbi Eleanor Beth Ginsburg Pearlman, who will be retiring from her active rabbinate and will be given the title of “Adjunct Rabbi Emeritus.” She will preach at a farewell Shabbat service on Friday, May 31, at 7 p.m. and a brunch will be held in her honor at the temple, 852 Ashmore Ave., Schenectady on Sunday, June 2, at 11 a.m. The community is invited to attend. The brunch is free and no reservations are required.
Pearlman began her affiliation with Congregation Gates of Heaven as a rabbinic intern in 2005 in conjunction with her studies at the Academy For Jewish Religion in Riverdale, NY. During her tenure in Schenectady, the rabbi focused her rabbinate on giving respect and dignity to senior members of the Gates’ congregational family. She has said that she realized that those who were once the most vibrant and active in their congregation deserved the respect of learning and loving their faith, even when they were no longer able to be as present in the congregation as often as they had been in the past. She also officiated at services and lifecycle events.
Her colleague and friend, Rabbi Matt Cutler also of Congregation Gates of Heaven, recalls Rabbi Pearlman this way: “About 15 years ago, a dynamic rabbinic student sat in my office. She informed me that she needed an internship as a pre-requisite to her ordination. Oh—and the internship would not cost the synagogue anything! ‘Sign us up,’ I said without hesitation. I knew Eleanor as a gifted teacher in our community. She has quite the reputation as an excellent therapist as well. Add to her resume the qualities that could not be listed on paper—her kindness, thoughtfulness, her professionalism, and her incredible work ethic—how could we not support her? What transpired was a lifelong relationship in which an intern became a rabbi and a rabbi became a friend, just as it says in Pirke Avot: “Find yourself a rabbi; acquire yourself a friend.”
Pearlman has been a therapist for 25 years. She has master’s degrees in both social work from University of Wisconsin and Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis. The rabbi lives in Niskayuna with her husband Dr. William Pearlman and has three children: Rachel, Aaron, and Shira and three grandchildren.
As adjunct rabbi emeritus, she will continue leading various classes and the congregation’s Senior Moments organization. She will also continue visiting seniors and shut-ins.
Information may be obtained by contacting the synagogue office at 518-374-8173.