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The Los Alamos Jewish Center community welcomes a guest for this year’s High Holiday season, Rabbi Melissa Klein. Klein will not only officiate religious services, but will also lead community events that weave together traditional high holiday values with the theme, “Generation to Generation.”
Longtime Los Alamos rabbi Jack Shlachter was invited to lead services at a synagogue in Vienna, Austria. His acceptance of the invitation prompted the LAJC to engage Klein.
Klein, of Philadelphia, is one of Los Alamos’ own — she was raised in Los Alamos and the Jewish Center was a second home to her.
She offered her first sermon to the community when she was a teenager. During her early 20s, she returned for two summers, and later she co-organized and helped lead High Holidays.
Klein’s parents, Morris and Susan, who plan to join the community for Yom Kippur, lived in Los Alamos from 1969-1999, before moving to Washington, D.C. Morris served as president of the Jewish Center and Susan was an active volunteer, organizing many Ghost Ranch retreats for the community over the years.
The Los Alamos Jewish Center selected the generation-to-generation theme for this year’s High Holiday season. “This theme is particularly moving for us this year,” said congregation president Terry Goldman, “as we mourn one of our founders Jay Wechsler, a mentor to so many of us, who chanted Kol Nidrei for decades.”
The programming at LAJC begins on the evening of Sept. 3 with a writing workshop led by Klein from Philadelphia, via Skype.
The LAJC community will welcome Klein with a Shabbat dinner on Sept. 14. In the late morning on Sept. 16, the religious school and others will gather at the Lopez Orchards in Pojoaque to pick apples and learn how honey is extracted from beehives. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, begins on the night of Sept. 16.
On the evening of Sept. 20, Klein will lead an adult study group on the art of forgiveness among the generations.
In addition, Klein will lead a healing service for the community on Sept. 21 and an eco-Jewish hike on Sept. 23, co-led by member Judith Stauber, former executive director of Hillel at UNM. Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, begins on Sept. 25.
Klein was ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 2004 and served for seven years as the spiritual leader of a small congregation in Allentown, Pa. Neysa Nevins, a chemist and Klein’s life partner, along with their five-year-old son Tani, will join her in New Mexico.
The full schedule of services and related events is available at lajc.org.