After helping to found two Congregations, one in Columbia, Maryland and the other in Clinton, New Jersey, I was invited to attend the initial class of Para-Rabbinics which was held in Warwick, New York at the Kutz Youth Leadership Training Center . There, with about 20 others who had been greatly involved as lay persons within their congregations, I was exposed to some of the leading lights of the Reform Jewish movement. We were instructed and practiced in how to perform the basic functions of a synagogue religious leader. We were instructed and coached in how to conduct Shabbat services, Torah readings, D'var Torah, Holiday and life-cycle events. We were familiarized with Bar and Bat Mitzvah, funerals, and even weddings. Of course, I was already the lay leader of my Synagogue Congregation, by virtue of my interest and knowledge, so this was really icing on the cake.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to increase my level of knowledge, and gain certification. Since those days more than fifteen years ago, I have continued to offer my services to the Jewish Community in my hometown, filling in when the Rabbi and Cantor are away, doing whatever the synagogue I belong to asks of me. I have taught religious school, Hebrew School, and conducted services within and beyond the pulpit.
Starting in 2003, I was asked to conduct holiday services aboard Celebrity Cruise Lines' ships. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet a diverse group of Jews and to offer a piece of home while in unfamiliar suroundings. I also conduct Sabbath services while aboard.