Rabbi Paul Citrin

Rabbi Paul Citrin's Bio

From Rabbi Paul Citrin — A Bit of Autobiography

I am looking forward with excitement to joining with the Taos Jewish Center as your guest rabbi on Erev Shabbat, November 30th and Shabbat morning, December 1st. While our acquaintance with each other will be new and fresh, we should not be strangers. To that end, I would like to share a bit of my autobiography with you.

My love of Jews, Jewish community and of our tradition has led me to serve as a congregational rabbi for thirty-eight years. I believe that congregational and communal life provides the strength and source of Jewish identity, creativity and survival. In short, I am convinced that individual Jews are nurtured and broadened by community even as the community is nourished and enriched by its members. The rabbi serves as guide, resource, support and motivator within the synagogue-center setting.

Teaching Torah to all people--- children, teens, adults and interested non-Jews--- is my particular passion. Over the years, I have taught hundreds of post-Bnai Mitzvah teens, studied with adults, and developed curricula for personal and Judaic growth. I wrote a novel entitled, Joseph’s  Wardrobe, published by the UAHC in 1987. It is intended for students in grades five through seven, and addresses issues of Jewish identity and ethics.

Making worship a relevant and uplifting experience is a personal priority of mine. I have found that giving people knowledge of the background and meaning of prayers, and the “how to” of Jewish praying dispels alienation. Accessible music and encouraging participation create a feeling of warmth and inclusion. I have written creative liturgies for Shabbat, holidays and High Holy Days. The CCAR published Gates of Repentance for Young People which I co-authored in 2000.

I am a relational rabbi. Every person counts, and is worthy of being heard and honored. Non-Jews, whether spouses of Jews or exploring visitors, need to be welcomed and embraced. Inter-faith relations and outreach in community are vital. Thus, I co-founded the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue of Albuquerque in 1984. It continues to this day. I served on the board of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Cultural Celebration for over a decade. I helped establish an inter-faith Thanksgiving service in Albuquerque which is still held each year. I have, as well, served as president of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis and on a variety of civic committees and organizations.

My roots are in Los Angeles. I am a third generation Californian whose maternal great grandparents were pioneers in Ventura County in the 1870’s. I attended U.C.L.A., and was graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in History. The Hebrew Union College awarded me an M.A. in Hebrew Letters and Ordination in 1973. My early rabbinate was as an assistant and associate rabbi for five years at Temple Israel, Boston. I arrived in Albuquerque in 1978 where I served Congregation Albert for eighteen fulfilling years. I also served congregations in Philadelphia, San Diego and Las Cruces.

My wife, Susan Morrison Citrin, is a native Jewish New Mexican. Her grandparents founded and operated Magidson’s Delicatessen in Albuquerque in 1940, and that restaurant served as a kind of Jewish center in its day. Susan is both an R.N. and a school guidance counselor. We are a second marriage of over thirty years with four adult children and eight grandchildren. We love to hike, to travel, to cook and to spend time with our family. We are very pleased to have returned to New Mexico, and we anticipate with enthusiasm our Shabbat with TJC.
                                      Rabbi Paul Citrin