The 100 Project
After attending the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Centennial Conference in October 2013, Rabbi Fine responded with a pledge to help bring Conservative Jews closer to their community, meaning, and God. Below are the 100 people/families that Rabbi Fine will be taking to coffee, calling for Shabbat, and having for dinner. All of these gatherings are outside of regular pulpit duties. They are people he is initiating contact with just to meet. Click HERE for the article and see the progress below. The UJA’s Blog ran an article on the 100 Project (click HERE). HERE are my thoughts after the Project.
Modern Look Into Israel
2015 Rabbi Fine created a new opportunity for Temple of Aaron with a Free Trip to Israel. But unlike Birthright or a family trip, this adventure was a modern look into Israel through technology, agriculture, arts, and more. 15 adults ages 25-45 spend a week experiencing and grappling with Israel in the 21st century. The amazing experience allows for young families and professionals to bond and immediately contribute back to the synagogue. Trip #2 took place December of 2016.
Annual Celebrity Fundraisers
One of the best nights of the year is Temple of Aaron’s Annual Celebrity Fundraisers. Each year hundreds and hundreds of people (members and non-members) packed Temple of Aaron for an exciting evening with a major celebrity. The event raises necessary funds for Temple of Aaron but more importantly creates excitement and buzz for the entire Jewish, Highland, and Twin Cities community. The event has featured Mel Brooks, Jason Alexander, Richard Lewis, Mayim Bialik and Josh Radnor.
Rabbi Fine has spent much of his time trying to reinvigorate holiday programming. Purim became his focus in 2017 and now is a main highlight of the year. Through a new initiative Rabbi Fine transform the average Purim Carnival into a once-in-a-lifetime (outside of Orland and California) experience. 25+ Disney characters including the Original voice of Aladdin’s Jasmine, Linda Larkin, filled Temple of Aaron. Cinderella’s Carriage Ride, Jack Sparrows Limo Scavenger Hunt, Princess and Jedi training created opportunities for hundreds of children of all faiths and backgrounds. In 2018 the theme was Animal Kingdom which include the MN Lynx Lindsay Whalen, 7 professional mascots, a winter Safari Ride, Raptor Show, and all sorts of other animal adventures.
Summer Young Family Programming
Ice Cream, Music, and Games! Temple of Aaron continues to host amazing summer young family programs open to the entire community. Including 2018 Crossriver Block Party.
5 for Fridays
In an attempt to reach all 900+ families more frequently, one of Rabbi Fine’s first initiatives was to great the 5 for Fridays program. Every week Rabbi Fine calls, at random, five families to merely wish them a “Shabbat Shalom.” The program has been a nice way for outreach and people look forward to the phone calls.
AIPAC Policy Conference & More
Rabbi Fine has helped Temple of Aaron formulate a new Israel Committee. Part of its accomplishments has been Israel education and advocacy. ToA raised its participation in AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference to 30-50 congregants and hosts nearly 10 tables at the annual Minnesota event. Most importantly ToA’s High School confirmation trip now attends the conference. Through Rabbi Fine’s initiative, together with 5 other teen groups, AIPAC now offers more breakout sessions for teens.
Space – Playground, Lounge, and More!
Maybe Rabbi Fine’s biggest passion is making sure space at the synagogue is inviting and versatile.
- Library – The synagogue library has been modernize. There is a space for children’s books and cozy corner to read. A big screen smart TV was added for classes via Skype and other projects.
- Playground – Rabbi Fine designed and secured a brand new Noah’s Arc Playground which can be used for fun and education!
- USY Board Room – The new space allows for all sorts of creative and recreation for our award winning teens.
- Chapel – By removing permanent seats and other items the chapel is now used for tefillah, learning, and youth services. Many more configurations for seating is now possible for services in the round, classes of all sizes, and guest youth musicians.
- Family Lounge – The bright new space is wide open for children to play and build fun memories at the synagogue.
- Nursing room – This room provides a private space for parents and their children.
Shavuot and Hanukkah
Shavuot and Hanukkah were the synagogues focus in 2016/2017. Shavuot hosted an award winning Interfaith Farmers Market. Through the market, breaking bread and learning about various faiths Shavuot was a remarkable experience for all types of learners and participants. Hanukkah has since been at Dave and Busters, hosted a gigantic building of 8 foot Menorah, and more!