Welcome from Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky
A Canadian-born rabbi with an extensive background in religious education and youth outreach Rabbi Sidlofsky says he found his calling early in life while attending a summer camp affiliated with the North American Reform movement. He said he met rabbis there “who led services, taught Hebrew and talked about being Jewish, but they also wore sneakers, played sports and told jokes. They were not only people to be admired, but role models to whom I could relate.”
Following graduation with honors from the University of Toronto, Sidlofsky pursued graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as part of his rabbinical course. He was ordained in 1988 after completing training at Leo Baeck College in London and received a master’s in Jewish education from the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles. Subsequently he earned a master’s in educational administration and a doctor of religious Jewish education.
“To me, a major role of the rabbi is to be a teacher,” Sidlofsky said. “This is central to my work and affects all aspects of it. I encourage congregants to pursue lifelong Jewish education. Informal interactions, counseling and sermons all provide teaching and learning opportunities.” As the “Rappin’ Rabbi” he likes to make his teaching fun, creating raps that give a unique spin to holy days, B’nai Mitzvah, and even the Torah.
In his prior position in Wilmington, as well as in previous congregations, the rabbi was an active participant in community and interfaith events, and he looks forward to those interactions on Long Island. One community outreach event he instituted, an Invite Your Neighbor service to welcome and inform non-Jewish members of the community about the temple and Judaism, was a success he hopes to replicate at Temple Isaiah.
Teamwork between clergy in a synagogue is crucial to creating a welcoming vibe. Rabbi and cantor must work together closely.
Simchas or Tzures
Whether you have happy news (simchas) or sad news (tzures), we hope you will share it with us. Rabbi Sidlofsky likes to know about births, engagements, weddings and other happy occasions, as well as hospitalizations, sicknesses or deaths. As hospital stays are often short and hospitals do not call us when you are admitted, please let us know so the Rabbi can arrange to visit or at least telephone. If you would like him or Rabbi Fisher or Rabbi Karol to officiate at a funeral, please speak to Rabbi Sidlofsky before scheduling. The sanctuary is available for weddings and for funeral or memorial services.
Rabbi Adam D. Fisher, Emeritus
Adam D. Fisher served as Rabbi of Temple Isaiah in Stony Brook from 1971 to 2002. He graduated Colgate University with high honors in Philosophy and Religion in 1962. In 1967, he received Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, where he was awarded a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree in 1971, and an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1992.
Rabbi Fisher is a writer and poet, whose poetry has appeared in a variety of Jewish and general literary journals, including: Judaism, CCAR Journal, Long Island Quarterly, West Hills Review, and Manhattan Poetry Review. His books of poems include Rooms, Airy Rooms, (Writers Ink Press, 1988) and Dancing Alone, (Birmingham Wood/LI Quarterly, 1993).
Rabbi Fisher’s short fiction has appeared in The Jewish Spectator and Echoes. He is also the author of two books of liturgy: Seder Tu Bishevat, The Festival of Trees, published in 1989 by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and An Everlasting Name, A Service for Remembering the Shoah, published by Behrman House in 1991.
Rabbi Fisher is also the author of the widely-used educational text, My Jewish Year, a book on Jewish holidays and the Home Start series of holiday books for preschool children. His book, God’s Garden, is a collection of original stories for children. Rabbi Fisher has also published many scholarly articles, contributed to anthologies, and done translations.
Rabbi Stephen A. Karol, Emeritus
Rabbi Stephen A. Karol, a native of Kansas City, has served Temple Isaiah since July 2002. Rabbi Karol holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison; was ordained at the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati; and received Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and Doctor of Divinity Degrees from HUC-JIR. Rabbi Karol served Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, NY and Congregation Sha’aray Shalom in Hingham, MA before coming to Temple Isaiah.
He was selected as the Village Times Herald’s Man of the Year in Religion in 2006, has served as President of the Three Village Interfaith Clergy Association, is on the board of the Shalom Interfaith Project, and participates in the annual Festival of Films and Faith as a committee member, panel member, and moderator for the films. He belongs to the Suffolk Board of Rabbis and the Long Island Board of Rabbis.
As a member of the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis, Rabbi Karol has been a committee chair, a regional vice-president, and a mentor for younger colleagues transitioning from rabbinical school to the congregational rabbinate. He was also the chair of a national committee for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), led services at regional biennial conventions, and presented workshops at national biennials.