Congregation Beth Chaim , the largest Reform synagogue in Mercer County, has named Adena Blum to serve as senior rabbi.
Blum currently is the associate rabbi at Beth Chaim. She joined the synagogue as assistant rabbi in 2014. She was selected as Beth Chaim’s senior rabbi following the approval by the temple’s search committee and board of trustees, and will begin her new position in July.
“We are thrilled to have Rabbi Blum lead Congregation Beth Chaim into the future,” said Ken Pogrob, president of the synagogue. “She is exactly what our congregation needs going forward. Her spiritual strength and warmth, commitment to her community, and dedication to social justice make her a wonderful fit for our congregation. We look forward to her leadership for many years to come.”
She succeeds Rabbi Brian Beal, who has served as interim senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Chaim since February 2019.
“We are grateful to Rabbi Beal for his service as our interim senior rabbi during this transition period,” Pogrob said. “We have been blessed to have his leadership, knowledge, and involvement with our temple community.”
Blum sais she feels blessed for the opportunity to serve as the next senior rabbi.
“I want to help ensure that this congregation is a place for all to assemble, a place where all are included and everyone feels valued,” she said. “The Torah tells us that everyone in the assembly is considered of equal importance in God’s eyes. Every person, irrespective of age, gender or status matters.”
Blum is the immediate past president of the Windsor Hightstown Area Ministerium and a member of the Religious Leaders of West Windsor. She has partnered with the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton on interfaith dialogue programs. At Beth Chaim she established an annual interfaith family Shabbat service to honor the fellow travelers in the congregation who are raising Jewish families.
She has decided that she will officiate at interfaith weddings under certain circumstances and conditions. “I want to welcome the fellow travelers in our midst and show appreciation for their contributions to our community,” she said.
Ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 2014, Blum earned master of arts degrees in Hebrew literature and religious education. She was mentored by Rabbi Eric Wisnia, who served Beth Chaim for 42 years before retiring.
“From the very beginning he gave me room to grow and learn as a rabbi,” Blum said. “He also taught me about the importance of humor, which can bring people together in a powerful way, alleviate tension, and keep us, as rabbis, grounded.”
A native of Lawrenceville, Blum is a graduate of the Lawrenceville School and Brandeis University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in Near Eastern and Judaic studies and a minor in religious studies.
At Beth Chaim, Blum led the congregation’s transition to the Reform movement’s latest Shabbat and festival prayer book. She also restructured the b’nei mitzvah process to provide more engagement with families.
Prior to her service at Congregation Beth Chaim, she served as the rabbinic intern at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, and Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick. She has also served a number of other Reform synagogues, one Hillel, two hospitals, two Union for Reform Judaism summer camps, and several other institutions where she engaged in teaching, preaching, leading worship, and developing programming for people of all ages and stages of life. She is a faculty member at Union for Reform Judaism Camp Harlam, a role she plans to continue.
Blum is a member of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In her free time, she enjoys good food, traveling the world, and spending time with her husband Sean and sons Jonah and Ari.