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Rabbi Haim Beliak

I have devoted myself to the revival and flourishing of congregations around the world, most recently Beit Polska, the umbrella organization of ten Progressive communities that grew out of Beit Warszawa in post-Communist Poland. In America, we are supported by Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland (www.FriendsofJewishRenewal.org) and the World/European for Progressive Judaism.

My intensified engagement with out-of-way congregations began when I travelled to a community founded in the 1640s in Parimaribo, Suriname. Plans are afoot for a trip to Suriname, Curacao and Cuba in January 2017.

For the last four years, I have served as spiritual counselor for a Jewish-inspired palliative and hospice center, Skirball Hospice. My work focuses on offering comfort and insight to people. I also frequently help patients develop life summary videos and ethical wills. The Skirball work is spiritually rewarding engagement.

Currently, I am assisting Rabbi Michael Roth in an experiment to revive Congregation Beth Ohr in Studio City. I am joined by Rabbi Robin Podolsky and Dr. Muriel Dance. We are having a ball.

Earlier, I served for 19 years as Chaplain and Hillel Rabbi for The Claremont Colleges. I received my smicha (ordination) from Hebrew Union College specializing in Cairo Genizah documents in Judeo-Arabic. I have studied the history of the Holocaust at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and also Higher Education at The Claremont Graduate University. From 1988 to 1990 I worked as a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow. I did my undergraduate work at Occidental College. I am the founder and spiritual leader of the Mifgash (HaMifgash), a gathering of adult learners who pursue Jewish learning and seek to apply it to the pressing issues of the day.

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