Rabbi Andrew Shugerman
Other job experience: Rabbinic fellow for Jewish Theological Seminary
Personal: Age 32. Born in Washington, D.C.
Family: Single, no children.
I direct all formal and informal Jewish education for JTS throughout the Southeast: Florida, Georgia and Texas. Before this, I was an interim rabbi in New Orleans. And my family is in Dothan, Ala.
Is it tough to be a Jew in Alabama?
I don't think so. My family is raising their fifth generation there. It's more a demographic issue than being unwelcome. My cousin has started a program to subsidize Jewish families to move to Dothan.
How did your family get there?
My father's grandfather arrived in the late 1880s. He was moving dry goods up and down the East Coast. He hooked up with a circuit judge, and when the judge would set up a trial in a town, he would set up shop. Eventually, the judge settled in Dothan.
What made you shift to the job you hold now?
It seemed too great an adventure to pass up: being a traveling rabbi and building a relationship with people in homes and offices, and representing not only the seminary where I'd trained but representing the work.
What kind of education do Jews here need?
I want to remind people that Judaism is more than synagogues. It should be part of our everyday life. My holy trinity is that Judaism is relevant, compelling and meaningful in new ways every day.
How do you like to relax?
I live on the same floor as the swimming pool in my building in Aventura. I've never had a swimming pool before. I've also taken up biking. On Labor Day, I did 150 miles in 2.5 days in upstate New York. It was for a Jewish benefit.
Baseball. I was raised in a rabidly passionate baseball family. We rooted for the Orioles, then the Red Sox. My brother lives in Boston now.