Feder to give Rabbi Reichert talk on Sunday


RIPTON — The Rev. Barnaby Feder, minister of the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury, will deliver the annual Rabbi Victor E. Reichert Bible Talk at the Ripton Community Church (United Methodist) at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6.
The Rev. Feder was raised in a Unitarian Universalist congregation in San Mateo, Calif., that his late mother helped organize in the early 1950s. He has been a member of numerous UU congregations as an adult. After a long career in journalism, culminating in 27 years at The New York Times, Feder entered seminary in 2008. He served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Morristown, N.J., and Stroudsburg, Pa., before being called by the CVUUS to Middlebury in 2012.
He and his wife, Michele Lowy, have three young adult children, all currently living in the Washington, D.C., area. They share their home in Middlebury with an unusually affectionate cat named Kester, whose theology, like theirs, is expressed by the large black question mark gracing the white region on his left back paw. Kester shares space with their dog Pantalaimon (“Pan”), who is new to the household.
Rev. Feder’s theme for the Reichert Talk will be “Heaven’s Borders: Our relations with each other, among nations and with the Divine constantly point to anxiety and conflicts around boundaries and borders.” Not surprising, such issues show up in Robert Frost’s poetry and the Bible, which a Universalist Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, called “The only correct map of the human heart that has ever been published.” Current events call us to renewed scrutiny of the spiritual wisdom we have inherited in this regard.
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 93, 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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