For more than 27 years Rabbi Jonathan Kligler has been the spiritual leader of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. Under his leadership we have grown from a tiny “start-up” congregation into the largest and most vibrant Jewish community in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Rabbi Jonathan has guided us to live up to our Hebrew name, Kehillat Lev Shalem – the Congregation of a Full Heart. Rabbi Jonathan is a gifted teacher of Jewish wisdom and an inspiring and transformative leader. He has led retreats at venues such as the Omega Institute and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and continues to travel and teach nationally and internationally.
Rabbi Jonathan has taught us that Judaism can be a heart-opening and joyful spiritual path, without sacrificing the precious Jewish attributes of intellectual depth and inquiry. He has taught us how to study Torah so that it illuminates our own lives. Rabbi Jonathan has taught us to develop our own relationship with and understanding of God, in a comfortable and natural fashion. Rabbi Jonathan has brought thousands of us together every year at the High Holy Days, singing joyously and shedding tears, bringing in the New Year together. He has taught us that the artful practice of love and kindness is the centerpiece of a heart-centered, fulfilling life.
Rabbi Jonathan has an uncanny ability to bring groups of people together, while at the same time speaking to each participant in a personally meaningful way. He is a masterful listener, has a great sense of humor, and he is always ready to learn something new. Rabbi Jonathan has been a priceless gift to our community.
Rabbi Jonathan Kligler graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, in 1989, and in 2014 was awarded their doctor of divinity degree. His undergraduate education was at Wesleyan University, where he received a B.A. in 1978 with a self-made major entitled “Therapy and Education through Movement.” Prior to becoming a rabbi, he worked as a mime, dancer, musician and storyteller, teaching and performing for children. For decades he has practiced the art of improvisational dance, performing and teaching adults. As a recording artist he has five CDs to his credit, including Let My People Go: A Jewish and African American Celebration of Freedom with Kim and Reggie Harris (Appleseed Recordings, 2005), and most recently On Holy Ground: Music of the High Holy Days at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation (2013). Rabbi Jonathan is the author of Hineni: Essays and Torah Commentaries from 25 Years on the Bimah (Blue Thread Publications, 2013). Rabbi Jonathan lives in Woodstock, New York with his wife Ellen Jahoda, a visual artist. They have two daughters.