Who We Are
The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis (MBR) is an organization of rabbis of various streams and groups serving congregations, agencies and institutions within Massachusetts. Its membership consists of men and women from across the denominational spectrum who come together for fellowship, religious camaraderie, educational enrichment, and to speak with a single voice on behalf of our Jewish community.
How We Got Here
Originally founded sometime around 1938, the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis was known as the Rabbinical Association of Greater Boston, and met at the offices of the Associated Synagogues at 177 Tremont St. (where the Va'ad meets today). Its founders included Rabbi Herman Rubenovitz of Mishkan Tefila, who served as president for many years, followed by Rabbis Louis Epstein (Kehillath Israel), Joshua Loth Liebman (Temple Israel), Beryl D. Cohen (Temple Sinai), Sam Abrams (Ohabei Shalom). Chaplaincy was a major topic of discussion, along with lay leader Harry Kraft of the Associated Synagogues (now the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts).
Why Join the MBR
The MBR is more than its rich history and wonderful programs; it is also about the relationships we build and the community we nurture. As a member of MBR you will be provided information to join the "Members Only" section of this site, which allows you to:
- -access our Members Directory
- -learn about special offerings for rabbis
- -have a conversation with colleagues through our blog
To join our growing community, click on the Membership menu item on the left.
Honoraria for Life-cycle Events
Current recommended fees for officiation at funeral homes in the Greater Boston area are:
$600-chapel service (effective June 2012)
$550-graveside service (effective December 2012)
The current range of fees for weddings in our area is from $750 to $1,500 (a/o February 1, 2015).
For information about clergy parking at area hospitals and discounts for Red Sox tickets for rabbis, please contact [email protected] for instructions or call 781-861-0300.
Watch this space for programs in the coming year.
In the Community
Statement on Transgender Inclusion
The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis celebrates the breadth of diversity within the Jewish people, as among all humanity. Delighting in the myriad ways that human beings are created in God’s image, we encourage the greatest spirit of openness in our communities, that we might be blessed through the unique holiness of all who enter.
Black Lives Matter — A Statement of Jewish Solidarity by the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis
The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis reaches out in solidarity with African Americans and with all Americans of conscience. We express outrage in response to the recent police killings of black males in our cities, two adults and a child, and deep concern over the failure of grand juries to indict. Grieving with their families, we honor the memories of Michael Brown, of Eric Garner, of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice.
Important Resources from MBR
The MBR general meeting on the end-of-life allowed us to explore this important topic with a panel of experts in a combination of training, lecture and havruta learning. Here are links to some of the resources mentioned at the Training.
MBR sponsored an important general meeting on the topic of dementia and alzheimer's. Feel free to access the following resources as follow-up to the presentation:
- Link to directory of memory cafés in Massachusetts: www.jfcsboston.org/MemoryCafeDirectory
- Link to Memory Café Toolkit: www.jfcsboston.org/MemoryCafeToolkit
- Link to information about Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative: www.jfcsboston.org/DementiaFriendlyMA
June 2017 - Sermon Seminar and Israel Bonds Luncheon: Great learning with Elie Kaunfer
"Understanding the Mahzor: A Look at the High Holiday Liturgy"
Close to 30 MBR members prepared for the High Holidays by exploring, with Elie Kaunfer of Mechon Hadar, the critical areas of the liturgy. Through Elie's dynamic teaching we were able to gain a deeper sense of the unique structure of the prayers in the machzor, as well as look in-depth into specific prayers. Looking at the Untane Tokef, we enjoyed delving into the biblical and rabbinic sources of High Holiday prayers, with an eye toward deeper meaning and connection to the larger themes of the holidays.
Continuity and Change
The MBR gratefully acknowledges the work of our Executive Committee, in particular our President, David Lerner, and is happy to welcome Toba Spitzer as President for the next two years.
We also thank our Managing Director, Alan Teperow, for his service to MBR for the past 13 years and wish him well in retirement.
March 2017 - "Changing the World from the Inside Out: A Jewish Approach to Personal and Social Change"with Rabbi David Jaffe
MBR's Yom Iyyun this year explored Jewish, spiritual resources for developing the inner-characteristics needed for sustained, productive engagement in social change in today's fractious, polarizing environment. David Jaffe expertly taught classic Biblical and Rabbinic sources as well as Breslov Hassidut and Mussar. While the focus was on our own practice as rabbis and Jewish leaders, teachings and materials can also be applied to our communities. This year's Yom Iyyun is made possible through the generosity of Brezniak-Rodman Funeral Directors.
February 2017 - Historic Conversation with Muslim Leaders
On Wednesday February 8, 2017, senior leadership of the local Muslim community addressed the Mass Board of Rabbis. In what was a historical event that would have been unthinkable not too many years ago, Shaykh Yasir Fahmy, senior imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, and Yusufi Vali, Executive Director of the ISBCC, spoke to a gathering of some fifty rabbis. In an atmosphere of friendship and openness, the two leaders created a personal connection with the rabbis as they shared their own stories.
In a manner of explication very similar to our own way of teaching, Shaykh Yasir taught a Muslim text, a “Hadith” on the prophet Jibreel/Gabriel, considering contemporary concerns through the lens of an ancient text. Yusufi spoke about the nature of the Muslim community in greater Boston, acknowledging the challenge of weaving one community out of the more than sixty nationalities represented in the ISBCC alone. He shared some of the immediate concerns faced by Muslims in this time of uncertainty and fear. On behalf of MBR, we sent a thank you note to the shaykh and Yusufi on the day following the discussion expressing the tone of the gathering as one of appreciation and respect, of friendship and hope.