Rabbi Rob Cabelli
Rabbi Cabelli's Journey to Asheville
Shalom, friends. I come to Asheville to take on the role of Rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation immediately following my ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. My road to the rabbinate, though, was not quite as direct as driving eastward across the country on I-40. As a young man I followed my curiosity and inclinations into the natural sciences, taking a path that led to a doctorate in molecular microbiology, a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental neuroscience, and some time spent as a research scientist and professor. As an adult, however, my search for personal growth and for spiritual meaning brought me back to my Jewish identity, drawing me into a deeper exploration of Judaism. This quest for learning about a living Judaism led me, in turn, into teaching others. And the experience of trying to convey the richness and depths of Torah to children and to other adults led me, much to my own surprise, into rabbinical school and the rabbinate.
My wife, Liz, also returned to school in midlife, in her case to realize a dream harbored for many years. After first earning a master's degree in English from Cal State-Fullerton, she entered a doctoral degree program at UCLA, specializing in Medieval English Literature. She looks forward to completing the writing of her doctoral dissertation while she finds her own voice in this extraordinary community and city.
We consider ourselves fortunate, truly blessed, to have our path meet with yours, to have come to Asheville and Beth Israel at this moment in time. Together we hope to nurture the attributes of a loving, open, and close-knit community, seeking the sacred and the just, that we experienced in Jerusalem and Los Angeles, in our new home, our new community, our new circle of friends.
A Message from Rabbi Cabelli
We are taught that every generation must struggle to make the Torah its own. Our understanding of Torah as a guide to personal development and to interpersonal relationships must be renewed and revitalized with fresh energy, insight, and commitment to help us face the challenges of our times. I believe that a rabbi should act as a filter for our ancient, wise, and multi-voiced tradition, to help a community sift through the welter of information and ideas and find its way and express its vision of Torah and the life of ma'asim tovim, the life devoted to good deeds.
My moral and spiritual vision of Judaism is centered on the creation of communities that draw the best from their members, so that all are inspired to help each other realize their dreams and to give of themselves by taking an active role in the world. Torah impels us to reach out with a humble and compassionate spirit and with an open heart and mind to those whom we encounter in life. We bring God and godliness close into our world when we relate to each other with empathy and mutual respect as fellow children of God. I will do my utmost to engage you panim el panim, face to face, for it is only through the encounter of open heart and face that we truly see, experience, and encourage the aspects of God and godliness that are present in every one of us.