The World Celebrates Rabbi Marcia Prager

Rabbi Marcia Prager, an inspirational Jewish Renewal spiritual leader, teacher, guide, and colleague, has become a model for a new generation of lay and professional leadership. Through her, many of us have forged an intimate, passionate relationship with Judaism, with the divine in all of us, and thus, with each other.

The P'nai Or Philadelphia Jewish Renewal community is grateful that in 5772 (2011) R. Marcia celebrated 18 years of serving as our Rabbi-Chaver. In her honor, friends from around the world shared these many stories, poems, and loving tributes, to show our gratitude and naches at this wonderful milestone!

For the Sake of the Children

Rabbi Marcia has been a good friend to me and to my family.  She helped name my daughter Devorah, helped me in home schooling her, and helped form in her a rich Jewish soul.
I credit Marcia's trust and belief in me with  P'nai Or's first Children's Program, the one that I organized and coordinated, with a great deal of autonomy, throughout Devorah's childhood. This work was a way for me to draw on my personal abilities giving me a path to meaningful service.  It and brought me into one on one learning in Marcia's kitchen, for the sake of the children (of course), and provided me with a relationship of ongoing learning, in which I am also a grateful conduit of learning for others.
Brian and I found Marcia in 1990 when we were arranging our wedding.  We studied with her weekly for a year.  In that time we both became committed to Judaism.  I will always be grateful for the gentle, subtle and successful teachings that brought us to this choice.  The choice which has blessed our home, our marriage and our child. 
Over that past twenty two years of being the recipient of her unwavering kindness and ready wisdom she, and Jack too, have become firmly entrenched in my heart.

Maxine Sperling

Standing at Her Window

One of R. Marcia's "teachings" that touched me so much as a somewhat new "Renewalnik" was when she was a speaker at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill for their sisterhood in the mid '90's. She was talking about standing at her window, washing her hands and the gifts she got from that simple task: the gift of water just from turning the faucet; the feel of the water flowing over her hands; the awareness of the source of that water and the effort it took to bring that water to her home! In essence, the water symbolized the gifts of many and especially a gift from Hashem!
Janet Neufeld

Images, Memories, Moments

Reb Marcia

So many images, memories, moments of being in Reb Marcia’s presence; a few “snap shots”::

Seeing her at a gathering at Reb Zalman’s Wisdom School – radiant, pregnant with Aaron, her deep eyes shining inward and outward

Feeling her warm, glowing welcome when I reached out to her in my wrestling with my Jewish/feminist practice and identity

Experiencing her heartful/artful/mindful/soulful  teachings on “Blessing” in the early days of  Elat Chayyim 

Her “shepping nachas” at our Aleph smicha – after all the work, zeal, devotion, commitment, wisdom and love she poured into us, her students, for years! 

Sensing  the love and loss she expressed – in words, photos, deeds, presence – of her dear mother z’l 

Joy in knowing her love is Unconditional and Infinite, as she says, each Shabbat, each yontif, “Dear Friends…” and with every greeting of welcome she extends, over and over again

So many more remain in my mind and heart.

Reb Marcia, you embody this:


Todah rabbah,

Radiating Leadership

My first Pnai Or service was led by Marcia and Jack.  I was astounded.  I had never seen or heard anything like it in a shul.  
 After the service, Janet, who had never seen me before, wrapped her arms around me, and invited me to stay for lunch.  My first Yom Kippur, and all those that have followed have felt like a spiritual bath.  Our Shabbos Torah study sessions, wide-ranging discussions among congregants who manage to get there at on or about 9:15 am (most expertly and generously led by Reb Melvin and Rabbis Arthur and Phyllis), have given me an understanding of Jewish tradition and learning that I never had before.  
I have been part of this welcoming community nearly seven years.  Its joyful, loving and liberal quality begins with and radiates from Rabbi Marcia's leadership.  
I wish her many more fulfilling years with Pnai Or.
Barb Bloomfield

Joy In Her Path

The stand-out sense I have had for years of Reb Marcia, and each encounter with her has only strengthened this sense, is one of great joy and deep acceptance--joy in her path, joy in her connection with God, joy in each of us who have crossed her path on our own journey, acceptance of each of us where we are on that path, and ultimately, an encompassing vision of what we can achieve on this collective journey to God.

Thank you Reb Marcia for accepting me with such deep appreciation that teaches me to believe in myself. You are the most eloquent model of opening up, in every way, to experiencing God.

Blessings always,
Judith Lyons

May You Be Fortified

I Call You a Lightbearer

I do! 

From the very first time I walked into the doors of Pnai Or, Yom Kippur 5769, I recognized you as a bearer of Light and the kind of rabbi I wanted to be someday. I am so grateful for all I've learned with you since then and for our time together. You’ve taught me the meaning of the verse  עבדו את יי בשמחה – Serve God with Joy (Psalm 100:2). Not just because I’ve seen you sing it a lot :-), moreso because I’ve seen you actually live it. 

I’ve always been touched and inspired by how much of yourself you give to others, energetically and in words and deeds. How much of yourself you share. And you do this for others, no matter what’s happening for you. 

People don’t always get that.

My wish for you, Reb Marcia, is that this anniversary honors you truly - for your dedication, your achievements and the Light of your neshama. May it help fortify and focus you in your work ahead. And for the Light you’ve shared with all of us, may you receive much Light back! Just as you have been an unfailing support for all your communities, so too may you be supported. Especially now…

רב ברכות,
Blessings and thanks,

Leslie Hilgeman