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Leadership - Beth Israel Congregation
Rabbi Jon Cutler
Rabbi, a native of Philadelphia, earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Temple University
in Religious Studies.
He earned a Master of Hebrew Letters and ordination as a Rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa.
He then earned his Doctor of Ministry (Counseling) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.
Rabbi is a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve in which he has served for 25 years.
also served on active duty for five years in the Philippines, Camp Lejeune, N.C. and Japan.
currently serves as the Force Chaplain for Naval Sea Systems Command
and as Deputy Force Chaplain, Commander Navy Installations Command
in Washington, D.C., until he
formally begins as Rabbi of Beth Israel
on September 1, 2015.
He previously was Deputy Command Chaplain for the US 6th Fleet, U.S. Forces Europe and Africa (2012-2013).
In addition, he
was mobilized to East Africa, Combined Joint Task Force â€" Horn of Africa as the Force Chaplain and Director of Religious Affairs (2011-2012); mobilized to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Al Anbar, Province, Iraq as the only Jewish chaplain for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (2008-2009); ministered to military and civilian person-nel at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., after the September 11 attacks; and during Desert Storm with the First Ma-rine Expeditionary Force and the only Jewish chaplain for Marines and Navy in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (1991).
Rabbiâ€™s extensive pulpit experience includes serving four congregations in his
civilian career â€" Congregation Bet Tikva, Flemington, N.J. (1993-1999); Congregation Tiferes Bâ€™nai Israel, Warrington, Pa. (1999-2007); and most recently Darkaynu, Warrington, Pa. (2009-2015).
also served as an interim rabbi at Congregation Beth Hatikva
(JRF), Summit, N.J. (2013-2014).
Rabbi Cutler served as a hospice chaplain for Abramson Center for Jewish Life.
He is an adjunct professor teach-ing Judaic Studies, Gratz College Melrose Park, Pa.; philosophy and religion, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pa.; and counseling Psychology (graduate program) Holy Family University, Philadelphia, Pa.
is a recipient of various awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal
(2 awards), Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards).
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Jon Cutler | Opinion: ...
Jon Cutler | Opinion: Learning True Nature of Judaism While Davening in East Africa
Be'chol Lashon: Educational Resources: Newsletter: Opinion: Learning True Nature of Judaism While Davening in East Africa
Rabbi Jon E. Cutler, The Jewish Exponent, April 11, 2012
Rabbi Jon E. Cutler is spiritual leader of Darkaynu, Bucks County, and a hospice chaplain at Abramson Center for Jewish Life.
The Grand Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh ...
The Grand Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Rajab Mubajje, had a request last month for Rabbi Jon Cutler: Next time you make it to Kampala, bring a Chumash.
During the same trip, the chief Islamic judge of Ethiopia, Sheikh Abdul Chello, made a similar appeal: Next visit, stay longer and teach me about Judaism.
Though educating East African Muslim leaders about Jews isn't at the top of Cutler's agenda, the senior chaplain for the United States Navy
in the Horn of Africa thinks it's an added bonus of his
work to promote religious tolerance in a potentially volatile corner of the globe.
From left are Capt. Rabbi John Cutler; Col.
is trying to promote Muslim and Christian interaction in East Africa as a way to head off tensions and perhaps prevent unrest and conflict.
The idea is also to influence perceptions of the United States among key leaders.
rabbi and naval captain said that American priorities for the region center around "defense, development and diplomacy.
They also include seeking to contain Islamic extremism, which is not as widespread as in the Arab world, but remains very much a threat, he
"I really believe it is the religious leaders who are going to make a difference in East Africa, not the the politicians," said Cutler, a hospice chaplain at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in North Wales.
"Conflicts have torn the social fabric of the African societies, displaced millions of people, traumatized communities, drained the continent of material and human resources resulting in destabilizing governments and communities," the rabbi stated, adding that acting as a quasi-diplomat was a new role for him.
"The ecumenical movement in Africa has a unique potential to respond effectively and in a timely manner to these social, political, cultural and economic challenges."
deployment is expected to last for 13 months and he's
based at the Navy's Camp Lemonnie in Djubuti, a desolate nation of about 700,000 people on the Indian Ocean coast.
, who counseled rescue workers in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, is planning to take part in a memorial service on the base.
also going to lead High Holiday services.
Shortly into his
decided that what African clerics really needed was more information about how religious plurality and interfaith engagement works in America.
In particular, many Islamic leaders had the mistaken impression that Muslims aren't free to practice their religion in the United States, said Cutler
stated that, for the most part, there is a high degree of interaction between Muslim and Christian leaders in East Africa; the problem of mistrust and intolerance exists more on the grass- roots level.
While the overall goal of the Ramadan tour centered around relationship building and was not overly focused on tangible results, Cutler
encouraged Christian and Muslim clerics to cooperate on microfinance initiatives, which would give individuals in poorer nations access to credit to start or grow small businesses.
On Saturdays, Cutler
took time out to visit other Jewish communities in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Most Christians and Muslims he
encountered wanted to know more about Jews and Judaism, even if they had expressed concerns about Israel and its policies regarding the Palestinians.
often referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an example of what happens when clerics don't lead the way to reconciliation.
Rabbi Jon Cutler said ...
Rabbi Jon Cutler said he was hoping to keep members of his prayer group engaged.
In 22 years in the pulpit, Rabbi Jon Cutler has led scores of High Holiday services.
knows the look.
Yet a prime opportunity to forge commitment, Cutler
says, often yields anything but.
is seeking new ways to trigger spiritual commitment and fulfillment as he
helps shape Darkaynu.
The gathering, a small group known as a havurah, is celebrating its first High Holidays together.
It meets at the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Warrington.
The group's mission is tikkun olam ("to repair the world") through personal and community transformation while acknowledging that individuals may accomplish those goals in different ways.
The group, founded in March, is the latest incarnation of Cutler's
rabbinate, which has included military chaplaincy and leading a Warrington congregation.
, 53, of Flourtown, spent much of the last two years in Iraq.
As the first full-time Jewish chaplain to be assigned in the western region, Cutler supervised 20 chaplains of various faiths.
established the first Jewish chapel at Al-Asad air base, published a newsletter, trained Jewish lay leaders, and developed a Jewish movie night.
A longtime captain in the Navy Reserve, he
most recent tour in February.
"It was hard to reconnect with family and friends," said Cutler, who oversaw counseling services in Iraq after four American troops committed suicide and a suicide bomber killed two people just outside an American base.
stint ended, Cutler
told members of Congregation Tiferes B'nai Israel, the Reconstructionist synagogue he
led for eight years, that he
needed a break from congregational duties to think about his
The congregation and Cutler
But soon, several former congregants contacted Cutler
about starting an informal prayer group.
The result is Darkaynu
, which meets on alternate Fridays.
"We're not looking at being a synagogue," said Cutler, who also teaches at Gratz College in Melrose Park and is a hospice chaplain at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in Horsham.
Rabbi Jon Cutler
Rabbi Jon Cutler | Rabbi Jon Cutler
Rabbi Jon Cutler
| Rabbi Jon Cutler
Rabbi Jon Cutler
Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote PA, Rabbi Cutler holds B.A. and M.A. in religious studies from Temple University and a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from Hebrew Union College, New York.
Upon ordination, he
entered the U.S. Navy
as a chaplain and was on active duty for 5 years.
served in Subic Bay, Philippines; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and as the only Jewish Chaplain for the U.S. Marine Corps
and U.S. Navy
in Operation Desert Storm and Okinawa, Japan.
More recently, he
assisted at the Pentagon after September 11th as a grief counselor.
is still in the U.S. Navy
Reserves at the rank of Commander.
served a Reconstructionist congregation in Flemington, New Jersey for 7 years prior to joining our congregation in 1999.
In addition to being a congregational rabbi, he is a visiting professor at Philadelphia University and teaches philosophy and ethics.
If you wish to contact the Rabbi, you may do so at the synagogue (215) 343-0155 or by e-mail RDJEC@comcast.net.
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Rabbi Jon Cutler