Rabbi Stillman to offer Bible talk

RIPTON — Danielle Stillman, Rabbi and Associate Chaplain of Middlebury College, will deliver the annual Rabbi Victor E. Reichert Bible Talk at the Ripton Community Church at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Rabbi Stillman is in her second year at the College, where she works with students to build Jewish community and to foster interfaith connections. She was ordained as a rabbi at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2009 and holds a Master in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, where she studied Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. She also holds a BA in Religion from Oberlin College. In keeping with Rabbi Reichert’s traditional practice, Rabbi Stillman will challenge her listeners to discern what scripture or text from the Hebrew Bible she will present in her talk.
The annual Reichert Bible Talk is a tradition that reaches back to the years just after World War II, when poet Robert Frost invited Rabbi Reichert to visit him at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Ripton. Frost had met Reichert while giving a reading in Cincinnati, where Reichert was rabbi of the Rockdale Temple, the oldest synagogue west of the Alleghenies, from 1924 to 1964. Their friendship deepened, and Rabbi Reichert and his wife Louise eventually bought an old one-room schoolhouse near Bread Loaf as a summer cottage.
For many summers, the Reicherts attended the nearby Ripton United Methodist Church, and Rabbi Reichert was invited to give a talk in the late summer on one of the books of the Hebrew Bible, of those scriptures common to Jews and Christians. The “Bible Talk” became an annual event, and the Ripton congregation named Reichert the church’s “Rabbi in Residence.”
Since Rabbi Reichert’s passing in 1990 at the age of ninety-three, Havurah — The Jewish Community of Addison County — and the United Methodist Churches of Middlebury, East Middlebury and Ripton have collaborated to sustain this interfaith tradition by co-sponsoring the Bible Talk every year.
The Ripton Community Church is located on Route 125 in the village center. Call Norm Tjossem at 802-388-0338 for further information.

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