The Temple Sinai community and community-at-large turned out in large numbers last weekend to honor Rabbis Rick and Susan Miller Rheins. It’s hard to believe that nine years have passed since they arrived at the Reform synagogue. Preserving the cherished ambience created by founding Rabbi Raymond Zwerin and his wife Rikki, the Rheins added their own plans, dreams and aspirations to ensure the temple’s continutity. It worked.
Rick Rheins is an extraordinary spiritual leader. Firm in his Reform beliefs, he has expanded styles of religious expression to meet more intensive spiritual needs. The Saturday morning minyan is just one example. The chapel is filled to capacity each Shabbat morning with songs, prayers, laughter and intellectual reflection. In the chavurah-like atmosphere, newcomers are embraced.
Families in mourning praise Rabbi Rheins’ ability to enter into and comfort their pain. The ill receive countless visits and calls. When the rabbi notices a sad look on a congregant’s face, he stops. “Let’s talk,” he offers, and keeps his word.
Susan Miller Rheins thrives at Temple Sinai. It’s obvious she’s in her element. Though not an employee, she relishes her many roles, from rebbetzin to B’nai Mitzvah tutor to leader of Torah classes for women and missions to Israel and (next year) Eastern Europe. Her spirit shines with palpable delight.
Sinai has launched a new building campaign to encompass growing membership and activities. Following the proverbial “hard act to follow,” Rabbis Rick and Susan Rheins promise many more uplifting years.
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News