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About Sha’ar

A city of many gates. A community of many entries. A heart of many rooms. People are drawn to Jewish life by different values, priorities and interests, and yet they share a yearning to belong – to be part of something larger than themselves, something that inspires, informs and sanctifies their search for meaning and fellowship in our fast-changing world. Sha'ar creates multiple gates ("Sha'ar" = gate) through which people can enter, explore and celebrate Jewish life.  Each revolving around a different mode of Jewish engagement, be it climate or social activism, prayer, study, travel, or culture and the arts, our gates together offer a radically inclusive, values-driven, innovative, affordable, collaborative and pluralistic model for contemporary Jewish living.  Our name, Sha'ar, is formed in the singular to convey the authenticity of each gate and our unified commitment to raise a compelling Jewish voice with which to join the global conversation about societal, spiritual and environmental sustainability in the 21st century. Sha’ar: opening your gate to our Jewish future.

Rabbi Adina Lewittes

Rabbi Adina Lewittes (Dini) is the founding rabbi of Sha’ar, a northern NJ/NYC-based, values-driven Jewish community oriented around the call to societal, environmental and spiritual sustainability. Sha’ar provides multiple gateways into Jewish life exemplified by a commitment to inclusiveness, diversity, innovation, scholarship, excellence and collaboration.

Dini recently served as the Scholar in Residence at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in NYC, a synagogue renowned for its commitment to social justice and spiritual activism. Dini is also a member of the senior rabbinic faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and of the Board of Trustees of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School. 

Previously, Dini served as the Assistant Dean of the Rabbinical School at JTS, and founded a synagogue in Englewood, New Jersey, modelling shared leadership and collective communal responsibility. Dini regularly enjoys speaking engagements in the US and Canada and publishing essays on topics including Jewish identity, leadership, Jewish innovation, sexual/gender diversity, multifaith/multiheritage marriage and engagement, and contemporary Jewish spirituality. She is married to Andi Lewittes, and has four children, two stepchildren, and one incredible dog. 

Our Va’ad

Bill Abrams,

Vicki Abrams

Asya Berger

Ted Berger

Susan Etra,

Bennett Grau

Marcy  Grau,
Vice President

Lisa J. Kasdan

Debbie Lerner    President/Chair

Andi Lewittes

Andrew Pittel,
Vice President

Elenor Radzivilover

Samara Stern

Beth Siegel

Howard Steele

Miriam Steele

Scott Weiner,
Vice President

Michael Yoeli

Who We Are

Values Driven - Sha’ar is a values-driven Jewish community that provides multiple gateways into Jewish life exemplified by a commitment to diversity, innovation, scholarship, excellence and collaboration.

Authentic - Sha’ar promotes deep learning and spirited intellectual engagement with the full spectrum of Jewish thought.

Inclusive Sha’ar welcomes people of all backgrounds to experience multi-dimensional Jewish life from a rooted, tradition-based, spiritual and progressive perspective.

Innovative - Sha’ar utilizes multiple settings within the natural and online landscapes to create living sanctuaries for in-person, virtual and travel-based events.

Sustainable - Sha’ar offers deep and substantive engagement through a Jewish lens that brings us into the global conversation about social and environmental sustainability and into spiritual and moral activism.

Israel - Sha’ar nurtures a loving and honest relationship with the State of Israel rooted in a commitment to Israel’s existence as a Jewish democratic state, and in the ideals of justice, universal human rights and peace in shaping the lives of all its citizens and the lives of the Palestinian people.

Sun, September 26 2021 20 Tishrei 5782