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Rabbi Michael Fessler

Interim Rabbi, Temple Beth-El of Poughkeepsie

A native of suburban Maryland and small-town Wisconsin, Rabbi Michael Fessler graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2001. Before attending RRC, he studied biology at Brown University and worked at an early electronic publishing startup in Providence, RI. After graduation, he participated in the Melton Senior Educators program at Hebrew University, focusing on Jewish adult education. (He has also studied at the Conservative Yeshiva and Mechon Schecter.)  He served for twelve years as rabbi and co-rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tikvah-Beth Israel in Sewell, New Jersey in partnership with his spouse, Rabbi Miriam Hyman. Combining his technical skills with his rabbinic background, for six years he served as Associate Director of Online Content for Reconstructing Judaism (the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement).

Amalek: Out There, or In Here? A Text Study for Shabbat Zakhor

On the Shabbat before Purim, we read the commandment to “wipe out the memory of Amalek…do not forget!” But is Amalek an external enemy — or something inside us and our society?

D'var Torah

Reclaiming Judaism After Centuries Underground

The small Italian village of Serrastretta has a hidden past: among its population are many families of anusim, hidden Jews whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition. Now, many locals are exploring their roots, thanks to new Reconstructionist affiliate Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud.