Temple Rodeph Torah in Marlboro has announced that Rabbi Don Weber has agreed to remain its religious leader for at least another decade.
By a unanimous vote at a special board meeting in March, TRT approved a new 10-year contract for Weber, who said he looks forward to continuing his leadership at the “innovative, forward-thinking congregation.” What makes TRT special, he said, “is its dedication to finding holiness — connections to God and connections to other people — in every aspect of our lives.”
“It’s our job, my job, to find that spark of holiness that resides in each of us and fan it into a flame,” said Weber. “There is so much in our world that pushes us to be ordinary, but Judaism encourages us to see the extraordinary in everything, most especially in ourselves. This is my sacred job, and I am thrilled to continue this work at Temple Rodeph Torah.”
Weber, who has been TRT’s rabbi since 1984, has stressed the importance of lifelong Jewish study and has been instrumental in bringing innovative services to the congregation, including the temple’s Rock Shabbat service, Rock Hashana, a Sacred Texting service on Yom Kippur, and the Blessing of the Animals.
Weber, a committed worker for civil and personal rights, is active in community affairs and communal service. In 2013 he was named one of “50 Faces of Justice” by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Both Marlboro Township and Monmouth County have honored him for his social justice work, specifically as creator of TRTCares, the temple’s community outreach program during the recent economic crisis.
Weber’s commitment to feeding the hungry has resulted in food bank contributions by TRT members that average nearly seven tons of food a year, the largest single-event food drives ever recorded by the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
He is a founding member of the Marlboro Township Ethics Board and was elected chair in 2013. A volunteer chaplain for the Marlboro Township Police Department, he has served on the boards of the NJ Association of Reform Rabbis, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and the Marlboro Improvement and Cultural Fund and was a founding contributor to the Reform Movement’s “Taste of Judaism” program.
Weber is a life member of the Morganville First Aid and Rescue Squad, where he served as emergency medical technician, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. His creation of the JDate Synagogue Gift Certificate Program received national recognition in USA Today, Newsweek, and many Jewish publications.
His wife, Rabbi Shira Stern, is the director of the Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling in Marlboro and the primary school educator at TRT. Together they have three sons and a daughter-in-law.
“Rabbi Weber epitomizes all that is good and right about TRT,” said congregation president Larry Rosen, adding that the congregants and community “greatly value his enthusiasm, commitment, warmth, extraordinary pulpit skills, and breadth of knowledge.”
Weber, said Rosen, “challenges all of us to embrace change and be open to new experiences so that we can acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation of our Jewish heritage.”