Meet Our Clergy
Rabbi Roger Lerner became the rabbi for Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism / Monroe Temple Beth El on July 1st, 2019. In the first passage of Pirkei Avot (the Ethics of our Ancestors), this compendium of quintessential wisdom begins by explaining where the Torah came from and how it was transferred from there; from God to Moses to Joshua to the elders to the prophets and so on. Torah is about how we live our lives, structure our days and care for the people around us. I am blessed and humbled to be a part of this venerable tradition and to continue this great and awesome task.
Growing up at Sha’arey Shalom in Springfield, NJ, I enjoyed going to Temple and when I was old enough, I joined the choir. My parents who were (and still are) very active in the Temple, showed me (and my siblings) what it meant to be involved in the Jewish community and caring for others. When I was fifteen years old, my father took my on a MetroWest sponsored mission to then Russia where we delivered American products (like Levi’s jeans) to Refuseniks. First hand I witnessed a people in such a bleak condition, no job, little money, can’t leave the country, and watched by the KGB, who, in spite of this, were grateful, generous and joyful. As I witnessed this I learned so much there that has influenced my life even unto today. First, I admired them for their resilience and tenacity and hoped to have even a tenth of what they exhibited. Second, the Talmudic aphorism, “the entire Jewish people are responsible for one another” I learned from direct personal experience the truth of this statement. So many people put their hands forward, put themselves on the line to help people they never met and helped them become free, alleviated the harshness of their condition and nurtured them through the pain of the assignation “pariah.” These ethics and more guide me in my thirst for Social Justice.
For ten years Rabbi Lerner served Temple B’nai B’rith of Kingston, PA and was also their principal for the last six years. He oversaw the combining of theirs and the local conservative congregation’s religious schools. Afterwards, he served as the principal.
He is currently serving on the staff of Camp Harlam where he gets to teach children his love of Judaism and combined with his love for the out-of-doors.
He was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, OH in 2007, receiving his Masters of Hebrew Letters in 2005.
Rabbi Lerner’s children are his world; Lily (age 23), Noah (age 17) and Ziva (age 9). Lily has global special needs and has taught me so much in how she approaches life in general and through all of her struggles.
When Rabbi Lerner is not in the synagogue, you might find him playing with his children, hiking, camping, biking, watching movies, crocheting, or playing guitar.
Rabbi Lerner can be reached at (845) 783-2626 x13.
Rabbi Emeritus, Garry Loeb