Tinton Falls, NJ - Monmouth Reform Temple (MRT) warmly welcomes Rabbi Michelle Pearlman who assumes the pulpit of Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, on July 1, 2010. She succeeds Rabbi Jonathan Roos, who is leaving MRT after four years to accept a position at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC. Prior to Rabbi Roos’s tenure, his predecessor, Rabbi Sally Priesand, served as Rabbi of MRT for 25 years. Rabbi Priesand’s service was historic as the first ordained female Rabbi in the United States. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Monmouth Reform Temple’s founding in Monmouth County.
Rabbi Michelle Pearlman joins the Monmouth Reform Temple as its rabbinical leader on July 1, 2010. Rabbi Pearlman comes to MRT from Massachusetts but studied in New York City and was a one-time Hoboken resident.
Rabbi Pearlman began her career as a pulpit rabbi at Temple Shalom of Newton, MA, where she served from 2006-2010. She received her ordination from Hebrew Union College, NYC, - Jewish Institute of Religion in 2005. Immediately following ordination, Rabbi Pearlman began to lay the foundations of her rabbinate at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) with a keen focus on youth work, outreach, and membership issues. While at the URJ, she served both as the Director of Youth and Informal Education (New Jersey Council) and also as the Project Coordinator in the National Department of Outreach and Synagogue Community.
Beginning her professional life as a classical singer, Rabbi Pearlman holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan and University of Illinois respectively, and has performed extensively including engagements with the Santa Fe and Palm Beach Operas. Rabbi Pearlman's love for music and Judaism converged during the five years that she served as Cantorial Soloist and Musical Director of Congregation Kol Ami in Chicago. She credits her experience at Congregation Kol Ami with fostering her passion for studying and teaching Torah and leading her to the rabbinate. As a student, she held pulpits in many communities including Woodstock, VT, and New Brunswick, NJ, and was also a recipient of many prizes and awards for both her academic and pulpit work, most notably in the areas of human relations and pastoral care. Rabbi Pearlman’s most unusual pulpit experience was serving twice as visiting rabbi at Beit Warszawa, a vibrant liberal congregation in Warsaw, Poland.Rabbi Pearlman recently moved to central New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Andrew Denker, and their two daughters.