Rabbi from Buffalo Grove’s Beth Am aims to build better world
Buffalo Grove 11/9/12 Rabbi Lisa Bellows stands inside Congregation Beth Am | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 30, 2012 10:54AM
BUFFALO GROVE — Congregation Beth Am Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows was scheduled to be in New York for a conference in late October, but Hurricane Sandy preemptive the meetings.
The nonprofit organization, Rabbis Without Borders, was forced to push its next training session back, because the storm battered the New York-New Jersey coast.
Whenever those training sessions do take place, Bellows will be in the group.
The goal, Bellows explained, is to implement theories and ideas that help lead one to building a more purposeful life, and a sacred community that builds a better world. To accomplish this, Bellows said Rabbis Without Borders explores trends in contemporary religion and spirituality and meet with leading thinkers in the fields of media, politics, and business.
Q: How did you get involved with Rabbis Without Borders (RWB)?
A: I applied to be a RWB Fellow for the 2012-2013 year.
Q: What made this group appealing to you?
A: Rabbis Without Borders has been an interest of mine since its founding in 2009. The mission of RWB is “to nurture and develop a network of rabbis with a shared vision to make Jewish wisdom available to anyone looking to enrich his or her life. (RWB) provides rabbis with cutting edge methodologies for addressing the challenges people face today.” The nature of the synagogue in particular and of religious life in America in general is changing. Spiritual leaders need to be informed and current with these changes and they must also understand the nature of this trajectory and respond to it in ways that bring meaning and purpose into our lives and thus contribute to building a better society.
Q: What’s your next move with RWB?
A: The 2012-2013 RWB cohort will meet in New York City in mid-December.
Q: What made you want to be a rabbi?
A: I have wanted to be a rabbi since I was in the seventh grade. Judaism has helped shape my identity and sense of purpose, and the job of a rabbi involves all that I like to do! A rabbi studies, teaches, preaches, counsels and is involved with social justice work. A rabbi also spends time developing her own prayer and spiritual life so that she can share her experience, strength and challenges with others. I am blessed to have a career that means so much to me.
Q: What brought you to Congregation Beth Am?
A: I have been with Beth Am for 11 years. I came to Beth Am because I wanted to be a part of a caring, committed, friendly congregation that is willing to take risks and challenge themselves to be better, learn more and do more for our community and the world.
Q: If you could be village president of Buffalo Grove for a day, what would you do?
A: I would have a multi-generational day of service, giving and gratitude. We would devote ourselves to acting on the idea that we are all created equal and are all responsible for each other. We would spend time stocking food panties, visiting the sick and the elderly, and provide for those in need. We would make sure that our children heard the message that bullying is wrong and that we value each of them. I would encourage and provide ways for people to acknowledge those service professionals in our community who help protect and care for us, but who are often taken for granted. The day would be filled with examples of gratitude and humility. It would be a day of being thankful for our blessings.
Q: What are you reading these days?
A: “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt
Q: Outside of work, what is your proudest moment of your life?
A: I am most proud of being a co-parent with my husband, raising three young children!