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Rabri Ari SaksRabbi Ari Saks

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BACKGROUND

Rabbi Ari Yehuda Saks, a Rabbi Without Borders, grew up in a Conservative rabbinic household spending time in Benton Harbor, MI, Middletown, CT, Philadelphia, PA, and Calgary, AB. A product of Jewish Day School, Camp Ramah, United Synagogue Youth, and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, he continued his Jewish education at List College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bible from JTS and a Bachelor of Arts in Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University. After taking a year off to work as a paralegal at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, he continued his family’s legacy when he enrolled in Rabbinical School at JTS and after his third year began studying for his Master’s Degree in Jewish Education.

In addition to his studies, Rabbi Saks has held many positions in the Jewish community. A devoted educator to kids of all ages, he has been a Head Teacher at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a Judaics teacher and Rosh Edah (unit head) at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, and an education intern at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY. He also has received practical rabbinic training at a number of large and small congregations. He spent five years at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City as a Torah reader and rabbinic intern, four years as the High Holiday rabbi at Waycross Hebrew Center in Waycross, GA and a year each as a student rabbi at Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, CT and Degel Israel in Watertown, NY.

Rabbi Saks is also very passionate about interfaith work. He revised the Walking the Walk curriculum for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian teenagers during an internship with the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, he coordinated an interseminary dialogue group for eight Jewish and Christian seminaries in New York, and he taught in a team teaching role with a Christian Educator at the Interfaith Community of New York.

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RABBI OF BETH MORDECAI

Currently in his third year as rabbi of the historic Congregation Beth Mordecai in Perth Amboy, NJ, Rabbi Saks has launched many innovative programs to infuse passion and energy in this small Jewish community, including religious programs like the Cantorial Showcase and“White Out” Friday Night. He also reaches beyond the borders of the synagogue to engage unaffiliated families through book reading at Barnes and Noble and tabling at Woodbridge Mall. As a result of these and other efforts, the synagogue has launched a monthly Tot Shabbat program for young families and personalized Hebrew School experience entitled “Project Jewish Living.” 

Rabbi Saks has also spent considerable energy to attract 20s and 30s through joint programming with Jersey Tribe and Big Tent Judaism. Under Rabbi Saks’ leadership, young synagogue leaders have launched the Young Jewish Professionals of Perth Amboy to attract 20s and 30s to Perth Amboy. The YJPA was highlighted with an article in the New Jersey Jewish News.

Rabbi Saks’ outreach efforts have also been highlighted by the New Jersey Jewish News, which dubbed him the “Mall Rabbi” for his weekly “Learn with the Rabbi” drop-in sessions at Yeshivat Panera and “Ask the Rabbi” table at Menlo Park Mall.

Rabbi Saks also believes strongly in using social media and technology to reach out to people and teach Torah with projects like  “Online Yizkor,” an Online Megillat Esther reading for Purim, a daily blog/journal, and his weekly Online Parashah Class. Through all of these efforts, the synagogue has increased membership by nearly 35% from 85 to 115 member units, significantly reduced the deficit and increased revenue nearly 70%, and grew the synagogue’s online reach at least fourfold.

Rabbi Saks has continued his engagement in interfaith work as a Deputy Commander of the Perth Amboy Chaplain Corps and member of Metuchen/Edison Area Interfaith Clergy Association (MEAICA). He has worked closely with local St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on a number of projects including an interfaith Thanksgiving Service, a Day of Service in Staten Island, and an interfaith couples seminar for Jewish-Christian couples. Rabbi Saks has also teamed with leaders from God’s Army Ministries to conduct an interfaith worship and singing experience as part of the synagogue’s wildly popular Shabbat by the Sea program.

Rabbi Saks loves being the rabbi at Congregation Beth Mordecai and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm of Judaism with you!

Please contact Rabbi Saks at 732-442-2431 or ari.saks@gmail.com to set up a time to meet and learn how Congregation Beth Mordecai is a Jewish home for YOUR soul!

Check out Rabbi Saks’ writings and online teachings by clicking on the links below!

Rabbi’s Journal

Sermons

Bulletin Articles

Publications

Online Parashah Class