11/29/2013 - Keren Alpert, a popular educator and rabbinical associate at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township, tendered her resignation to the temple's board of director's on Thursday, November 21, after it was discovered she had never attended rabbinical training as she had told the temple she had.
Raymond Rosenfeld, president of Temple Beth El's board, said that Alpert joined the staff of the temple in 2004 as an educator and then became a rabbinic associate in 2007.
"Then, in May 2012, we had an ordination at Temple Beth El on the assumption, the assurance, that Keren had completed her education."
had led the temple to believe that she
had enrolled and attended ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal ordination programs in Philadelphia.
According to their website, "The ALEPH Rabbinic Program is a non-denominational, highly decentralized program of learning which offers structured guidance and mentorship in pursuing the rigorous studies and practica which can culminate in rabbinic ordination.
A non-traditional seminary, it blends a variety of modalities of learning, including its own retreats, seminars and tele/video-conference courses, along with other distance learning programs and courses and coursework undertaken in universities, colleges, synagogues and seminaries to which a student has access, supervised by each student's director of studies.
Rabbi Marcia Prager, director and dean of the ordination program, stated that Alpert was never enrolled and had never applied to ALEPH.
The discovery of her
lie occurred about six months ago when the board asked Alpert
, a Grosse Pointe resident, if she
would participate in the ALEPH ordination ceremony in addition to the temple's ceremony.
Her resignation was accepted on Thursday, November 21, and Rosenfeld sent a letter to the congregation on Friday, November 22, stating, "In recent days, Keren
admitted that over the past five years she was not truthful with the clergy, leadership and congregation.
Rosenfeld also wrote to fellow congregants, "we have consulted multiple authorities who all concur that even though Keren
never trained as a rabbi, the Jewish rites that she performed over the past year are still absolutely valid, including all weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, conversions and baby namings."
I would think Keren
was an expert, but I do not know.
was highly regarded by other rabbis in the region, and I have been told other rabbis were present during ceremonies she
Attempts to reach local area Reform and Conservative rabbis for comment regarding the validity of Alpert's
performance at Jewish rites were unsuccessful.
"We will begin a process soon to hire a new assistant rabbi to replace Keren," he said.