Temple Israel is very proud to announce that this spring Rabbi Paul Yedwab will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. The degree will be presented by Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, during graduation ceremonies on Thursday, May 19 at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Yedwab is being recognized by his alma mater for 25 years of dedicated service to the Jewish people. He has long been a leader in our community, serving on the Michigan Board of Ethics, the ARZA Rabbinic Council, and the Governor’s Statewide Faith Based Steering Committee, as well as on the boards of the Fresh Air Society, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and the Jewish National Fund among others. He is dedicated to the cause of hunger relief, and was a co-founder of both the MAZON Council of Metropolitan Detroit and Forgotten Harvest, a food distribution organization serving Oakland and Wayne counties.
His spiritual leadership at Temple Israel has led to numerous innovations that help define our congregation. Rabbi Yedwab served as the editor for our prayer books, Shema Yisrael, the first fully illuminated siddur, Ora v’Simcha, our Friday evening prayer book, and “As the Gates are Closing We Remember Them” the first fully integrated Yizkor and Ne’ila Machzor. He also was the first rabbi nationally to employ a PowerPoint prayer book at our Shabbat Unplugged services. He believes that worship is meant to be uplifting, engaging, participatory and fun.
While a student at HUC-JIR, he was a CLAL intern who went on to spearhead many programs bringing Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews together, including a combined trip to Poland and Israel for teens, another to Prague and Israel for young leadership couples, as well as Detroit’s Miracle Mission for Teens.
Rabbi Yedwab is the author of “The God Book,” and “Sex in the Texts” which strive to bring primary texts back into Reform Jewish classrooms as well as two Hebrew primers, “The Alef Bet of Blessing” and “Learn Hebrew Today.”
Rabbi Yedwab currently serves on the steering committee of the Rabbinic Visioning Initiative and as the co-chair of the Rabbinic Lay Task Force to Reinvigorate NFTY, the National Federation of Temple Youth.
He is most proud, however, of being a part of an extraordinary clergy team here at Temple Israel.