Meet Our Temple Beth El Rabbis!
We are very fortunate to have Rabbi Rami Pavolotzky and Rabbi Daniela Szuster call Temple Beth El Lancaster their home. The married couple joined our family in November 2015 when they relocated from San Jose, Costa Rica, where they served as co-rabbis of Congregation B’Nei Israel since 2004.
“We would like to invite you to read and follow our writings which can be viewed at The Rabbis’ Corner.” – Rabbis Szuster and Pavolotzky
Before they arrived in Costa Rica, the congregation had provided a newsletter on upcoming temple programs for members. The co-rabbis developed this into a magazine called “Koleinu” (meaning “Our Voice”), which they published several times a year.
Rabbis Pavolotzky and Szuster were the first full-time rabbis to serve their small congregation in Costa Rica. Together, they launched several programs during their tenure at Congregation B’Nei Israel and increased membership by more than 50 percent. They revitalized religious services by introducing new melodies and encouraging member participation. They also launched a comprehensive program of reading in Hebrew, allowing more members to follow prayers in this language.
In 2015, the two rabbis published two books together – “Shiron B’Nei Israel,” a songbook with almost 100 Hebrew songs, which was transliterated and translated into both Spanish and English, and “Ten Years of Torah at B’Nei Israel,” a compilation of their sermons, commentaries, and articles.
The couple created and headed projects for youth ages 13 to 18. They created a youth group and winter camp and organized youth-led congregational activities. They also developed a new curriculum for the religious school to enhance the quality of Hebrew and Judaic learning. The school met twice a week, with Rami teaching students ages eight and older and Daniela instructing the younger students.
The rabbis also introduced an annual “Shabbat on the Beach” program, an innovative project to allow members to appreciate Judaism in a different, more relaxed way. They also helped established the Costa Rican chapter of “Religions for Peace,” part of an international organization. Here, area religious leaders met regularly and discussed ways to improve dialogue and relationships among the various community religious groups.
As Rabbis at Temple Beth El, their primary goal is to maintain the congregation’s focus on welcoming individuals and families, both Jewish and inter-faith. They want to invite people of diverse backgrounds and religious practices to participate in the religious, educational, and social life at Temple Beth El. They will continue to strive to meet the needs of congregants who vary regarding knowledge, practice, and commitment, and to individuals at all stages of life