Rabbi Benjamin Spratt was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May 2008, concentrating in Jewish Philosophy. In his years at seminary, he was the recipient of many awards and prizes in Talmud, philosophy, homiletics, and Bible. Born in Salt Lake City, UT, Rabbi Spratt spent his early years exploring his Jewish identity. His Jewish journey took him through the Conservative, Renewal, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist worlds of Judaism before finding a home within the Reform movement.
Rabbi Spratt graduated magna cum laude in 2001 from the Honors College of the University of Oregon as a member of Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Psychology and Religious Studies. He earned distinguished honors for his thesis on early Jewish mysticism. Rabbi Spratt has served as a religious school teacher for 15 years, a religious school director, a chaplain at Lenox Hill Hospital and Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, and as the Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Rodeph Sholom for four years.
Rabbi Spratt now serves as Senior Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom and as the Rabbi-in-Residence of Rodeph Sholom School. He lives in the Bronx with his wife, Cantor Micah Morgovsky, and their two children Ayalah and Jonah.
Accessibility efforts of the early aughts started a larger dialogue about inclusion. How could we better serve those for whom attending a religious service was difficult? In 2010, we inaugurated first Shireinu special needs worship service at Rosh Hashanah. CRS now leads four holiday Shireinu services each year.
The way we live now175 years after our founding, Congregation Rodeph Sholom remains a steadfast beacon for Judaism and celebrating Jewish traditions. We are also a nimble and adaptable institution that strives to serve our people and community now and for generations to come.
We’re not just getting better—we’re getting older! CRS took on some major capital projects in this era. Accessibility and space upgrades ensure optimal access and worship experience for our congregants.
In 125 years, Congregation Rodeph Sholom has had four senior rabbis. Our number four , Rabbi Robert N. Levine, is celebrating 25 years along with the shul’s 175th. The 1990s also saw CRS making a bold move with new clergy.
Tikkun olam, in the form of sewing, helping the poor, and making contributions to worthy causes were part of CRS from the first day. In this era, we upped our game considerably.
Education was a top priority for Rodeph Sholom, which made some first-ever moves by a Reform congregation.
With early waves of immigration now mostly a faint memory, younger generations were interested in reclaiming their identity, through learning Hebrew and travel to Israel. The Seven Day War of 1967 proved to be a strong rallying point for support of Israel and Jewish pride.
1940s and 50s – Rodeph Sholom worked hard to support the war effort, and to be essential part serving earlier pioneering generations as they grew into their retirement years in the 1950s. The 1950s was also an era of new view of early childhood education as a foundation for a good life, and CRS stepped up.
CRS roared through the 1920s in robust health, purchasing land for what is our current building and having an architect draw up plans. The early 30’s continued a trend at CRS that is still with us to this day—welcoming clergy and staff who choose to spend their entire careers at CRS.
As Jews began to assume leadership positions in political life and in industry, Jewish identity shifted to a strong emphasis on “being American.” Those of an older generation were disinclined to pass along fluency in Yiddish to their children and grandchildren. This was also an era where Jews served in large numbers fighting for their country.
An era of prosperity paved the way to assuring the future of Judaism in America, through founding new institutions and keeping up with the congregants.
In this era CRS functioned as a shul working steadily to ensure that Jews had wide and equal access to American health care and social welfare.
As Rodeph Sholom became an established shul, leadership and congregants pursued tikkun olam and its central role in the serving the Jewish Community.
In the 1840s, the Lower East Side, new Americans flooded into the city. Many used their new freedom to practice religion to set up houses of worship that would also serve as centers of social and cultural life
1980s – Tikkun olam, in the form of sewing, helping the poor, and making contributions to worthy causes were part of CRS from the first day. In this era, we upped our game considerably.