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schultzRabbi Evan Schultz

Rabbi Evan Schultz was born in Queens, NY and raised in various cities in the Northeast, most notably Boston, MA.  He graduated from Brandeis University in 2001 with a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and a philosophy minor. As the student rabbi of B'nai Israel Synagogue in High Point, NC, for three years,  Evan loved working with a Southern Jewish community, as well as teaching and leading t'filah services at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, B'nai Jeshurun and East End Temple in New York City.

Additionally, during his tenure at HUC-JIR, Evan led monthly Shabbat Unplugged services at Shaaray Tefila in New York City, helping grow the community of young professionals in a lively band.

Before attending HUC-JIR, Evan piloted a new full-time teacher program at Central Synagogue for three years, spent a year volunteering in Izmir, Turkey, with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC); and worked as a Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow at MIT Hillel.  

Evan is married to Jenny Goldstein and is the proud dad of Koby Schultz. He is an avid cyclist, runner and guitarist. He is very excited to join the B'nai Israel community!

Av/Elul 5774
From The
Rabbi's Study
August 2014
Jewish American Pickers

I don’t generally watch too much television, but I do enjoy catching the occasional episode of American Pickers on the History Channel. The show chronicles two “pickers,” Mike
and Frank, who travel across the United States in search of what they call “rusty gold.”

With flashlights in hand, they walk through people’s homes, negotiating with the owners to purchase certain items they believe they can resell in their antique shops. The elements of the show that really draw me in are the interesting stories behind the items they discover.

Each piece gives insight into someone’s family history or recounts the olden days of a particular town or neighborhood.
The show is an important reminder that the relics that sit in our display cases and hang on our walls have a higher purpose.

If we take the time, the stuff in our lives can be an opportunity to share in stories and connect with the past. I find those opportunities, for example, all the time here at the synagogue. Oftentimes on Friday nights or Saturday mornings, I will notice someone looking at the Confirmation class photos on the wall near Cantor Blum’s study. If I have
a moment, I will ask them about the photograph. People almost always love to share their story, about their childhood here at B’nai Israel or about their confirmation experience.

Some look back on that period with fondness and others with critique. It is always an opportunity for me to learn something new about the synagogue, and to give the person across from me an opportunity to reflect years later on
where they were and how it impacted who they are now.

We too create new stories all the time, and many of those stories become embedded within a particular item or
object. Just this past year, we had a Bat Mitzvah girl here at the synagogue who wanted to purchase the tallit for her Bat Mitzvah in New York City. She and her family went into the city, met with a Judaica shop owner in Midtown Manhattan, and purchased a beautiful tallit. Now every time she puts on that tallit, she has that story and memory associated with it.

So here’s an idea for a Shabbat or family activity: Jewish American Pickers. Perhaps on a Friday night or Saturday morning, have your children pick one item in the house and ask you the story behind it. This could be a great opportunity to share in some family history, and since they get to pick the
item, it makes it more interactive for the kids. The other opportunity is if you are here at the synagogue and you
see someone looking at a Confirmation class photo, take a moment to ask them about it. This could be a nice opportunity to build community and share in a moment with a fellow B’nai Israel member or alum.

There are unlimited stories out there, find the opportunity to use the items in your homes and at the synagogue to bring them alive.

Happy picking!

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