Today is November 18, 2017 -
Rabbi Moshe Givental was born in the Soviet Union, and immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a 9-year old in 1990. As most Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union where the practice of religion was forbidden, he grew up in a secular home, and only began to explore Judaism as a spiritual and religious practice as a young adult. He consequently studied with Rabbis from across the Jewish religious denominations. This experience helps to make him a sensitive teacher for anyone who feels like a beginner, whether they are a child or an adult.
Rabbi Moshe was ordained at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, as well as earning his Master’s degree there in Jewish Education in June of 2017. He studied at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem for two years before beginning his formal Rabbinic studies. Rabbi Moshe is also a former psychotherapist, and holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology. He comes to Temple Beth Torah having studied with teachers from across the Jewish denominational spectrum, as well Rabbi Moshe Givental having served a variety of communities as Rabbi and Chaplain.
Growing up as an immigrant provided Rabbi Moshe with a lot of opportunities for wonder, about culture, technology, nature, and philosophy. These in turn led him a on a journey from studying Aerospace Engineering, to World Religions, to Alternative Medicine, to Psychology, and eventually Judaism. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught, “The awareness of the Divine begins with wonder.” He therefore works to foster this kind of curiosity and wonder in his work, whether he’s leading prayer, learning with children, leading adult education, or organizing the community to do the work of Tikkun Olam / social justice. Another model for the work of wonder is listening. We are reminded of this whenever reciting the Shema, which says “Listen Israel…” The very next sentence begins with V’ahavta, “Then you will love…” Perhaps if we listen, deeply enough and carefully enough, with curiosity and wonder, then love naturally rises up.
Rabbi Moshe is a deep listener and spiritual seeker, who knows how to compassionately guide people wherever their Jewish journeys take them. When he’s not working, he spends as much time as possible in nature and learning about ecology, listening to music and learning about art, playing with dogs and his two small nieces.