Font Size


Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  ( has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.

Several months ago, I participated with our president, Jeff Keyak, in a Jewish Federation seminar geared toward helping synagogues improve their member resources and public image. One of the points addressed was the importance of the ambiance of a shul lobby.

When someone walks into a shul, the lobby is the first thing he or she sees. Does it convey an atmosphere of vitality and promise for the future? Or does it seem stuck in the past? It’s well known that you only have one chance to make a first impression. Therefore, it is important that the atmosphere of a shul lobby conveys a welcoming, warm, and dynamic vibe to the newcomer.  

Here at Adath Israel, our lobby has not changed for over 15 years, but our community has transformed enormously in that time. Therefore, I have consulted with congregants and shul leaders about making the shul's lobby into a more inviting and engaging space. Everyone agreed that indeed, a chance is in order.                                                                                                                                                

There was a broad consensus that the “Memorial Torah Scroll” which has served us well for many years should be relocated to the library. In its place, there will be a large flat screen display with continuously updating photos, announcements, and the shul’s latest tweets. This display is meant to serve the members of our community, and accordingly, I welcome all ideas and input for how we can use it to its maximum potential. Please email me to share your suggestions today!