Burt Aaron Siegel
Rabbi Burt Aaron Siegel is the founder, and beloved and esteemed Rabbi Emeritus of The Shul of New York. Since its founding, his spiritual leadership has drawn many to The Shul's life-affirming, love-affirming religious philosophy. Our approach to Judaism is to emphasize the spiritual teachings at the very center of our faith that can bring us closer to God, to experience and live more from the soul, to gain deeper insight into the inward knowing of spiritual truths and values that can guide our lives.
Rabbi Burt truly believes that each person is a teacher, who can, by words and deeds, enhance the growing of others. His strongly-held conviction that we can support one another as we strive to live by ethical values, and help to mold for the good the future of life on our planet, prompted him to create The Shul of New York, a community that is liberal, deeply spiritual in emphasis, inclusive, welcoming and open to innovation.
In his own words, “At our synagogue, all who join us with an open heart are lovingly accepted. We’re here to open the doors wide so that we can serve the spiritual and religious needs of all who turn to us. Joining our congregation is not complicated, especially because of our “no minimum dues” policy. We’ve been a source of inspiration, consolation, healing, learning, friendship, joy, celebration and connection to so many people. I’m proud that our interpretation of Jewish Tradition and our inspiring music have created a most welcoming, most inclusive community in which all people can be at home.”
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Rabbi Burt received his Rabbinic Ordination and the award for the highest academic standing, as well as a Masters Degree in Judaic Studies, from the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. He has studied in Israel and holds the Jerusalem Certificate for excellence in Judaic Studies. Rabbi Burt was also a Hebrew Union College faculty member.
Rabbi Burt began his Rabbinic Career at the Riverdale Temple, where he was a Rabbi for ten years. He continued his work as a Rabbi at The New Synagogue in New York and was Interim Rabbi at The Village Temple for one year.
In addition to his traditional Rabbinic activities, Rabbi Burt uses his expertise to counsel many different individuals and groups. He has led meditation, spiritual guidance and healing meditation groups, including weekly sessions at Gilda's Club, a support community for cancer patients.
Rabbi Burt is particularly renowned for the life cycle events he leads for members of our Shul community as well as for those who are not affiliated. Baby namings, interfaith, same-sex and same-faith weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, conversions, funerals and memorial services are made more moving because of his warmth, openness and authenticity.
Rabbi Burt also loves his work with the kids who come to The Shul of New York. He has inspired children to see the beauty of our Jewish tradition and has provided guidance to The Shul School, Bar/Bat Mitzvah students and The Shul's Family Programs. He has a profound interest in interfaith outreach and has delivered many talks on this subject in the United States and in India.
Rabbi Burt is committed to doing all he can to inspire people to turn their hearts to bringing all religious, racial and ethnic groups together in loving harmony. We are fortunate to have a Rabbi who leads us with enthusiasm, wisdom and a loving heart.