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Our Clergy

Rabbi Larry Bach

Rabbi Larry Bach became Judea Reform Congregation’s Rabbi in July, 2015. Prior to joining us, he had served Temple Mount Sinai of El Paso, Texas. He was ordained in 1998 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies from the University at Albany, and a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, from HUC-JIR.

Nothing brings Rabbi Bach more joy in the rabbinate than connecting with the members of the congregation. Creating relationships through study, prayer, and in the joys and adversity of life is at the core of his work. Though he has only been with us at Judea for a short while, he already considers himself lucky to be a part of a very special community.

Rabbi Bach works passionately on issues of interfaith understanding and social justice. In El Paso, he was among the founders of Border Interfaith, a broad-based community organization affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation. In North Carolina, he is continuing that work with sister organizations Durham CAN. He has served on the boards of jobs programs and immigrant legal aid programs. In 2007, he was named “Racial Justice Ambassador” by the Paso Del Norte YWCA in recognition of his work in these areas and others.

Israel holds an important place in Rabbi Bach's consciousness. He believes in a Jewish state where democracy thrives and justice is available for all people, and is a proud supporter of Rabbis for Human Rights and the New Israel Fund.

Rabbi Bach is also committed to scholarship and the inner life. He is an alumnus of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinical Leadership Program, where he developed a passion for the study of Hasidic Torah commentary, and deepened his prayer life and meditation practice. In 2012-13, he studied in the IJS's "Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program." He participated in the "Manchim" training program of The Mussar Institute, and believes in the efficacy of Mussar to shape our lives. In 2010-11, he was a member of the second cohort of “Rabbis Without Borders” an interdenominational project of the National Center for Learning and Leadership. He is also an alumnus of the Shalom Hartman Institute's Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar.

Rabbi Bach has recorded two albums, Kivvunim (2008) and Openings (2013). Music is central to his rabbinate, and he enjoys collaborating with Judea’s many talented singers and players.

For information on how Rabbi Bach and Judea Reform can support you and your loved ones, please click here to read "Kavod v'Nichum -- Honor and Comfort."


John Friedman, Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi John Friedman retired in June 2015 after enthusiasticly leading us for 35 years. He and his wife, Dr. Nan Friedman, still live in Durham and participate, actively in the life of Judea Reform Congregation. His son, Josh, and his daughter, Abby, grew up here.

Rabbi Friedman was born in Kansas City and studied at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and Cincinnati where he was ordained in 1976, and from where he received an honorary doctorate. After four years at Emanuel Congregation in Chicago, he came to North Carolina to serve Judea Reform. Rabbi Friedman taught and will continue to teach adults and children through our many synagogue programs.

He has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Keeper of the Dream Award, the Durham Better Human Relations Award and the Elna Spaulding Medal for Social Justice awards for his work in our community. In 1994, Rabbi Friedman was a Charles Merrill Fellow at Harvard University. In 2009, Rabbi Friedman was honored to receive the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship at Harvard University. 

Rabbi Friedman has served as president of Durham Congregations in Action and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Reform Rabbis, and has been a popular speaker for many civic and religious groups. He has also served as chair of the Interreligious Affairs Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and as National Chair and Co-chair of the Rabbinic Cabinet of JStreet. Rabbi Friedman has written articles that have been published in "The Journal of Reform Judaism," "Brotherhood Magazine," "Judaism," "Compass" and others. Most recently, in May 2015, he was honored as a Rabbinic Human Rights Hero by T'ruah (Rabbis for Human Rights, NA).

For the 2014-2015 academic year, Rabbi Friedman served as Marcus Center Director’s Fellow at the American Jewish Archives of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.  He worked on a project concerning the theology and practice of early Reform Judaism in America.


Fri, April 20 2018 5 Iyar 5778