has been a conservative Jewish congregation in Deerfield since 1976. Rabbi Alex Felch, who has been at B’nai Tikvah since 1999, recently took the time to answer five questions for Patch.
What do you like most about living and/or working in Deerfield? Deerfield is a wonderful community, as it is a safe environment, strives hard to provide a high quality of life to all its residents is open to people of different backgrounds and enables all to develop the best of their potential.
What do you find most fascinating about the people in Deerfield? The people of Deerfield are highly educated, motivated to perform acts of loving kindness, willing to get involved in creating a warm and caring community and see their neighbors as part of their extended family.
What has been your most uplifting experience in your current position? Some years ago, our congregation received a Torah scroll, rescued from the years of the Nazi horrors. It came from Czechoslovakia. This Torah scroll had been desecrated and vandalized.
When it arrived at B’nai Tikvah, our entire congregation gathered around it, symbolically embraced it, provided for it a new and safe home in our growing congregation, filled with the love and tenderness that it lacked for decades. For all of us it was an immensely moving experience that touched our individual as well as our collective inner beings, urging us all to do better, to be better, to care more, to study more, to help out and to accept all people for who they are.
It taught us all that to “heal” a Torah is also an example of how we can all help to “heal” the world.
Why is Deerfield a good community for this congregation? Deerfield is a community with a substantial number of Jewish people who share our love of God, our understanding of our faith and are willing to be seriously committed to the practice of our tradition. Deerfield’s nurturing environment has allowed our congregation to flourish and to enrich the lives of many of those who walk through our doors, as well as many within our surrounding vicinity.
What brought you to your current position in Deerfield and how long have you been there? I came to Deerfield, hired by Congregation B’nai Tikvah in 1999. I am starting now the 14th (time flies) year of my tenure as spiritual leader of our Synagogue. My personal as well as professional goal had always been to affect people’s Jewish lives in a positive way, something I learned from my mentors and teachers back in my native country of Argentina.