Local rabbi chosen for groundbreaking national program

Rabbi Melinda Mersack

Rabbi Melinda Mersack, Director of jHUB, a joint initiative of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland that connects interfaith families to Jewish life in Greater Cleveland, was chosen to participate in the prestigious Rabbis Without Borders (RWB) program. This is the sixth class selected for RWB, Clal’s landmark initiative that helps rabbis make Jewish thought and practice more available for improving people’s lives.

Rabbi Mersack has led jHUB since its inception in May 2014. The need for this new initiative came out of the strategic planning process of the Federation and the work of its Engagement Task Force, chaired by Kevin Margolis. 

“Interfaith families are a growing and important part of our Jewish community,” said Mersack. “jHUB is here as a resource to families who are interested in exploring Judaism, seeking to create community or connect to families similar to themselves. We provide a variety of connection points: holiday programs, clergy referral service to those seeking officiants for their lifecycle events, personalized meetings with families and individuals, and welcomeness training for Jewish professionals and institutions.

“We are here to support each family on their own individual journey, wherever they are and wherever they are going. We try to respond to each family’s individual wants and needs.”

jHUB created the popular Seder in a Box and Hanukkah in a Box initiatives that provided over 500 families the tools to celebrate Passover and Hanukkah in their own homes, and continues to offer Jewish programming for families on Cleveland's west side.

RWB will help Rabbi Mersack further the work of jHUB.

“Rabbis recognize that the religious environment has changed – from family make up to spiritual practice. To reach people where they are and how they are, rabbis need to apply their skills in new ways. RWB offers that kind of support. It helps rabbis better communicate in both familiar and new venues, and makes Jewish wisdom an accessible resource for the American public to help all people flourish in their lives,” said Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, RWB Director. 

For more information about jHUB and its offering for Jewish and interfaith families on the west side, contact Rabbi Melinda Mersack at 216-371-0446, ext. 232; mmersack@jecc.org.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 9:52 AM, 01.19.2016