Temple Beth El gets new rabbi

Rabbi Feldmann says righteousness a process of personal development

Rabbi Roberto Feldmann is the new rabbi at Temple Beth El. He played guitar and sang in Spanish during the High Holy Days here last fall. (Bob Campbell/Odessa American)

A new rabbi has been appointed at Temple Beth El at 1501 N. Grandview Ave., Rabbi Roberto Feldmann, a native of Santiago, Chile, who played guitar and sang in Spanish during the High Holy Days here last fall.

Observing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Rabbi Feldmann said, “I preach about the journey of the soul to be mindful of what we do and to evolve to be giving, loving and responsible.

“We need to be mindful of our ego and our psychological trappings, overcome the evil, fear and shadows and listen to the divine voice that we have inside.”

Synagogue Board President Howard Marks said the rabbi will be here for Rosh Hashanah, starting at sundown Sept. 15, and Yom Kippur, starting at sundown Sept. 24.

“Roberto is scheduled to come in three times a year but do monthly Zoom sessions with the congregants,” Marks said. “He is very excited.”

Feldmann took degrees at Universidad Catolica in Santiago and the Rabbinical Seminary of the Reform Movement at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and he served for a time as the first rabbi since the 1950s revolution in Havana, Cuba.

“That was tough because the situation was very precarious,” he said. “The people had many needs.”

Accompanied by his wife Yael, with whom he has three children, the rabbi last year discussed “how we are invited to grow and make real our potential, give to others and be fully creative.

“I also like to speak about the environment, giving loving care and empathy for all living beings, being able to be peaceful in a deep sense toward all human beings and of course to have a fulfilled Jewish life, living with our heritage in a joyful, spiritual way,” he said.

A key concept of Judaism is righteousness and Feldmann was asked how one achieves it.

“It starts with one’s own psychological journey and psycho-spiritual development, which means that ongoing commitment to be daring and step outside the comfort zones that have been erected in what we say and how we judge things,” Feldmann said. “If we are to become righteous, from that awareness of one’s self come the actions of random love and the consciousness of being loving, being kind, being fair, just being able to learn from everybody and to be thankful for what we have.

“We will certainly end up with many mistakes, but we should strive to be an inspiration to others.”

Temple Beth El member David Rosen said Feldmann “is a wonderful human being.

“Aside from being an excellent singer and guitarist, Roberto has served many congregations and what he does here suits us as a congregation very well,” Rosen said.