Rabbi Michael Fessler | Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Michael Fessler

Associate Director of Online Content, Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Michael Fessler, ‘01, become editor of Jewishrecon.org in 2015. As Director of Online Content, he is responsible for updating current Reconstructionist online resources, as well as overseeing the launch of new digital initiatives. 

Upon graduating from RRC, he served as a fellow at the Melton Senior Educators program at Hebrew University, with a focus on Jewish adult education. He then served as co-rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tikvah-Beth Israel in Sewell, New Jersey for twelve years. Immediately before entering rabbinical school, he worked for two years at an electronic publishing startup firm.  He harnessed his continuing interest in online tools both in his congregational work and in the service of the Reconstructionist movement, contributing to RRC’s 2008 self study in the areas of digital content strategy and web technology. 

He holds a undergraduate degree in biology from Brown University. He resides in and telecommutes from the Hudson Valley.

Reclaiming Judaism After Centuries Underground

The small Italian village of Serrastretta has a hidden past: among its population are many families of anusim, hidden Jews whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition. Now, many locals are exploring their roots, thanks to new Reconstructionist affiliate Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud. While many are satisfied to understand the origins of mysterious family customs and learn about their ancestral heritage, some choose to fully embrace Judaism through conversion. Through a unique document of “Reclaiming Jewish Status”, this community has reconstructed standard conversion as a reclaiming of stolen Jewishness.