About Rabbi Spike

Rabbi Spike Anderson was born and raised in Boston, MA. and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City. Before his decision to enter the rabbinate, Rabbi Anderson worked as an Executive Recruiter in New York and San Francisco. While at Seminary, Rabbi Anderson augmented his studies by serving two summers as an interfaith Chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

In addition to his rabbinic and pulpit responsibilities, Rabbi Anderson is dedicated to the Israel & Peoplehood pillar of Stephen S. Wise Temple. He works tirelessly to connect congregants with Israel through political action, social action, personal connection, cultural exchange, and study.

As the Rabbi for the Early Childhood Center (ECC) as well as the Kindergarten and Grade 1 students of the Elementary School, Rabbi Anderson has the pleasure of conducting weekly Shabbat services for our youngest members, as well as lively ‘Tot’ and ‘Family’ Shabbats throughout the year. Through song, movement, talking puppet shows and ridiculous costumes, he strives to create a dynamic yet comfortable environment for the children to learn and love their Judaism. With his open door policy and passion for pastoral care, he is honored to provide spiritual guidance to the children as well as their families.

Rabbi Anderson also has taken a leadership role in creating and implementing the ‘Kehillat Wise’ program within our congregational community. Launched in response to the economy crisis, the program is designed to empower congregants to help other congregants; and it has earned nation-wide recognition due to the invaluable variety of resources, programs, and one-on-one guidance.

Wise Hearts is a program that Rabbi Anderson is in the process of revitalizing and taking to the next level. Working with a dedicated committee, Rabbi Anderson oversees as temple members reach out to other temple members in times of joy and sadness, offering gifts, comfort, even help with carpool.

Rabbi Anderson takes the most joy out of being a teacher, and is proud to have students ranging from age 1 to 101 years old. His classroom ranges from congregant’s living rooms to his office at the Temple. This year, Rabbi Anderson will offer such classes as: “Your Personal Theology and Spiritual Journey”, “Finding God”, “Introduction to Judaism”, and “The Hunger Games: what Judaism might have to say about it”.

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Nissuin (Nuptials)

Jewish Wedding: Nissuin

Jewish Wedding: Nissuin

The second section of the wedding ceremony begins the Sheva Brachot, or seven benedictions, which are recited over a cup of wine.  The blessings thank God for the fruit of the vine, the creation of the world, the creation of human beings, the perpetuation of life, the survival of the Jewish people, the joy of marriage, and the bride and groom’s happiness.

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Breaking of the Glass

Jewish Wedding: Breaking of the glass

Jewish Wedding: Breaking of the glass

At the conclusion of the ceremony, it is customary for the groom to break a glass. The breaking of the glass has several meanings. Some consider it a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in the first century, for even at the height of personal joy, we must not forget the tragedies that our people have endured. Others explain that the fragile glass reminds us of the delicate nature of marriage, which must always be cared for and cherished. At the sound of the breaking of the glass, guests traditionally clap and chant “Siman Tov” and “Mazal Tov,” Hebrew phrases which offer congratulations and good luck to the couple.

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After the Ceremony: Yichud and Seudat Mitzvah

Yichud

Jewish Wedding: Yichud

Jewish Wedding: Yichud

Following the ceremony, the newly weds customarily spend a few minutes in a private room for yichud, which means “togetherness.”  There, they will quietly share the excitement of their first moments together as husband and wife.  Since the wedding day is often a whirlwind, these private moments of yichud often are the only private moments the bride and groom will share for the entire day.  This time is really special, and they then emerge from yichud as a couple to greet their guests.

Seudat Mitzvah (The Wedding Feast)

According to Jewish law, the wedding guests are commanded to celebrate, to have fun, and to increase the joy of the bride and groom on their wedding day. So, dancing, singing, and rejoicing throughout the night is very much encouraged!

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«What’s In A Name»

or “An Introduction To Our New Rabbinic-Intern, Spike Anderson”

I am looking for a lawyer to file a class action suit against Shel Silverstein and Johnny Cash!
“Well, that is just ludicrous,” you say? No so, to the contrary…

Because of their song, ‘A Boy Named Sue,’ many parents throughout America have given their children ridiculous names in hopes of filling some sort of nominal vacuum in their lives or perhaps in the spirit of Darwinian humor. How many innocent children have suffered because of these lyrics?

My father is one of those parents who decided, when he was just ten years old, that his son would nto have a humdrum name like Howard (his name), but rather something outrageous that people would remember. He predicted that a name like ‘Spike’ might allow entrée into pick-up basketball games even if it meant that no mother would ever allow his future son to date her daughter…but that was a sacrifice that my Dad was willing to make.

So, because of the Silverstein-Cash conspiracy, I was fated to be called ‘Spike’ even before my own father hit puberty. I never even had a chance…

In fact, my father was so attached to the idea that he decided that I was going to be ‘Spike’ no matter if I were a boy or a girl! When my younger sister was born, he toyed with ‘Nail’ or ‘Hammer’ but by then my mother had thankfully seized control of the baby naming apparatus. As for me, no matter how hard my father pleaded, my mother would not actually name me ‘Spike’ (because she is ‘normal’), and so my given name is ‘Nicholas’, although the only people who call me ‘Nicholas’ are the bill collectors.
Like many of us, my surname is credited to Ellis Island where the clerks changed it from its Romanian ‘Antonescu’ to the congenial ‘Anderson.’

The oldest of three kids, I grew up in Boston at Temple Israel. As a teenager, I went to a Quaker boarding school and then to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania where I majored in American History with a focus on secondary education. In 1993, I spent a semester abroad at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in an experience that forever changed my life and awakened my passion for Judaism.

After college, I moved to New York City to work for a recruiting firm that focused on technology professionals for Wall Street, and then moved out to San Francisco where I founded my own company which aided the venture capitalists to build their pre-IPO ‘start-ups’ from scratch. This was an exciting time, but in 1999 I decided that rather than continue with business, which I absolutely loved, I would rather chase my latent dream of becoming a rabbi.

Since deciding to pursue the rabbinate, I have had the good luck to travel the world, to spend a year in Jerusalem, to learn the wisdom of our scripture, and most importantly, to marry my wife, Marita, with whom I look forward to raising a beautiful family. Four months ago, we had our first child, a wonderful baby boy.

Now, what to name him?

Forever scarred by my father’s decision, I had decided when I was just ten years old that my future son would neither have a humdrum name like Howard nor a hyper-macho name like Spike. I wanted a name that would allow my son entry into pick-up basketball games and reassure mothers that my son should date their daughter. Marita and I picked “Maccabee”…as in, “Big Mac is on my team!” and “would Maccabee like to stay for dinner?” In any case, Marita, Maccabee, and I look forward to joining your family at Temple Israel.

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