Temple Adas Shalom has formally installed Rabbi Meeka Simerly as its rabbi after Rabbi Ruskin retired.
Simerly, an Israeli native, was raised in a secular Zionist environment, in which Judaism was more cultural. She emigrated to California in the mid ‘90s, where she rediscovered her passion for her Jewish roots, according to a news release.
Simerly moved to Harford County last year after serving seven years as a cantor and rabbi at Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne, New Jersey.
Shortly after attending Temple Adas Shalom, Simerly spent time with children of the Temple’s Early Learning Center, and spearheaded many Shabbat services including Rock Shabbat, PRIDE Shabbat and Claws & Paws Shabbat, the release said.
The installation, held at Hopkins Farm Brewery, included calling on a group of congregants, each representing a different generation, to wrap the rabbi in a tallit, a traditional Jewish prayer shawl, while Rabbi Simerly and the congregants blessed her with a prayer.
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“If anyone ever doubted there was divine providence, this was it,” Ruskin said at the installation.
Ruskin believes Simerly’s ability to forge genuine connections with people would be her greatest strength in serving her congregants and community.
Outside of the synagogue, Simerly has been making inroads with local clergy from a variety of faiths and elected officials, including Sen. Ben Cardin.
“I join the members of Temple Adas Shalom in welcoming you as their new leader,” said Cardin at the intallation. “I am confident that your experience as a rabbi, cantor and interfaith leader will provide the foundation to continue the mission of your congregation and foster an environment to encourage the spiritual growth and fellowship of your congregants.”
Simerly will lead her second year of High Holiday services and events beginning with Rosh Hashana, which starts at sundown Friday. For a list of the synagogue’s High Holiday programming: templeadashalom.com.
“When I come to your homes to comfort, to be your friend, when we come together to sing, to pray, sometimes dance, sometimes cry, I enjoy leading in a way that brings us closer to one another and to the Almighty,” said Simerly. “Temple Adas Shalom, a holy community, of and for peace. I feel so blessed to have found you.”