[For more on Rabbi Konigsburg visit my LinkedIn page]
Rabbi Konigsburg has brought much comfort and support to our family since he became the Rabbi at Temple Beth-El. My husband and I have been members of Temple Beth-El all of our lives. We grew up in the Temple having both been born in Birmingham. We were both confirmed there, married there, our children had their Bar Mitzvahs there, were confirmed and married there. My grandchildren the same. In all of that time, we have never had a Rabbi so devoted to the Synagogue and its congregants as Rabbi Konigsburg. He is a Rabbi with a heart like none other. He cares so deeply for Judaism. Any congregation that is wise enough to ask him to be their religious leader will be enriched beyond words. Thank you Rabbi K. Joy and Robert F. 3/4/16
When Rabbi K came to our congregation, we were a synagogue that had lost itself. He restored us. He was so faithful to the Judaism we practiced and to the people who practiced the Judaism. To me he was the answer to every prayer. He was everything I had hoped for our congregation. In his knowledge, in his practice and most of all in his inspiration to reach for the good in Judaism and in the world. He is an inspiration to those who wish to do the same. I wish my time with him was going to be longer. I am soaking up every moment with him that I can. I believe that he is the kind of person – that once you share the way with them for a while, all the paths you follow the rest of your life will be better. I envy the congregation that accepts Rabbi K as their spiritual leader – he will show them the good path.
Bruce Downs, Board Member Temple Beth El Foundation; Former Treasurer Temple Beth El 2/1/16
As clergy I can tell you firsthand that there are many things that we do that go unseen that make a difference that most congregants and board members don’t know about and that is the greatest gift Randy and Michelle offer and the fact that neither of them want thanks or recognition for those things are signs of the great mazal this community has in their presence among us. Rabbi Konigsburg and I are good friends and colleagues and talk often about life and ways to make this world a better place. Thank you for bringing the Konigsburgs to Birmingham. Todah Rabbah.
I have served as a cantor, hazzan , Jewish educator, spiritual leader, chaplain , choir director , camp director among other titles in congregations, schools, camps, JCCs, nursing homes and hospitals and other institutions throughout the country since the 1990s and have not come across a more generous and sincere man and Rabbi than in Randy. Birmingham and the state of Alabama is most fortunate to have this mentsch and knowledgeable human being in our midst. Good Rabbis and Hazzanim are hard for congregations to find. Todah Rabbah for what we have in Birmingham.
Michael Horwitz, UAB Medicine Staff Chaplain 1/20/16
I am giving my perspective as someone who in my ten years at Temple Beth-El in Birmingham I have served as a Ba’al T’filliah, a Ba’al Kryah and the leader of the synagogue choir. I do not give this character reference lightly.
Rabbi Konigsburg is a mild-mannered man – – a person of great intellect, warmth, conviction, commitment and spirituality. His Devrai Torah and sermons are always well thought out and clearly presented. He is able to relate to people of all ages (my teenage grandson among them). He attends all of the twice-daily minyanim. His pastoral service is exemplary. He sees his tenure at the synagogue as a service to God and to the community. He came to Birmingham to replace a Rabbi who had been divisive and almost tore the congregation apart. He added a level of stability to the shul that we felt was healing.
During this time, Rabbi Konigsburg has conducted himself with a graciousness and Menschlichekeit that is admirable in the extreme.I would say at this point that any congregation looking for a mature, compassionate, intelligent, spiritual leader would do well to consider Rabbi Konigsberg’s candidacy seriously. Our loss would be their gain.
Please don’t hesitate contacting me if you wish me to expand on the above recommendation. My wife would also willingly contribute her thoughts on this matter.
Dr. Barry Ivker Dr. Frances Ivker
To me Rabbi Konigsburg is a Rabbi from the heart. To show up at twice daily minyan, visit the elders in nursing homes, call me every other week to ask about my names on the mishabayrach list, shep nachas at my grandson’s bar mitzvah as part of our family. I attend his weekly Torah study class, his Wednesday morning after minyan study session, attend holiday and festival services. For the past 3 years during our Yom Kippur break he pulled down a chair from the bimah and sat there for the congregants who wanted to stay with Ask the Rabbi, not run to his office and rest but being there during his fast for us. I have found him to be receptive, warm, spiritual, inspirational and caring. He is a Rabbi from the Heart – doing things because he wants to not because it is his job or duty. He is a mensch. Natalie S. 11/13/15
Shortly after Rabbi Konigsburg came to serve as the spiritual leader at Temple Beth-El, one of our congregants turned to me after morning minyan and said, “Our Rabbi K is so outstanding, I didn’t know that they made Rabbis like that anymore”! After which I agreed that she had expressed my exact sentiments. As a longtime member of Temple Beth-El and one who regularly attends minyan and Shabbat services, I am keenly aware of the positive influence the Rabbi has on our membership. He and Michelle teach by example and exhibit a heartfelt sense of warmth and kindness to all.
Unfortunately, we all deal with tragedy, illness and loss during the course of our lives, and it is at these times, one most needs a spiritual leader with whom they can connect. Various family members and friends have mentioned to me how much Rabbi Konigsburg’s support has enabled them to manage through their darkest hour. For my family, we not only benefited from his loving support, but learned to appreciate the meaning of community in the broadest sense. I have enjoyed spiritual growth through the lessons and sermons offered by Rabbi Konigsburg. I will long remember and appreciate his positive influence on me, my family and our community. We have truly been blessed to have the effect of his teachings on our Temple family, the broader Jewish community and across interfaith groups. Diane S. 1.4.2016
The impact that Rabbi and Michelle Konigsburg have made to our family and our community is immeasurable. Rabbi K as our Congregation’s Spiritual Leader has offered so much opportunity for spiritual growth and participation and has encouraged us to participate and take on leadership roles on committees and on our synagogue board. He has also offered support and continuous personal outreach not only for my father (my mother has Alzheimer’s), but always checks on me as well, to make sure I am okay and to offer support and care counseling. He also takes an interest in our children…he has encouraged my 9 and 11 yr old children to feel comfortable in their sanctuary and to feel at home coming to stand with him on the bima to face the open ark during worship and to now come up on Fri nights to help start off a prayer…and they love doing it! They also benefit greatly from Mrs K teaching them Hebrew and Judaics. My daughter goes nuts if she has to miss or come late to Religious School because she doesn’t want to miss a minute of her class. She tells me that it’s too interesting to miss and they go too deep into text for her to even arrive 1 minute late! The fact that both of my children look forward to their Judaic education is fantastic! My 9 yo has Mrs K on occasion and comes home telling us all about what he learns too! Believe me when I tell you that is rare. I hope for my children’s sake this passion will remain ignited once they’re with other teachers. I can go on and on but will end by asking, “Whose Rabbi and Rebbitzin actually get in their car during summer vacation and drive to Jewish summer camps to pay a visit to the Congregation’s children at summer camp?” Ours does. Really, it’s true!
Whoever is so fortunate to land this pair for their congregation is in for quite a full and enriched Jewish experience all the way from twice daily Minyan attendance, Shabbats, Holidays, Torah Reading, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Adult and Child education, Simchas, Funerals, Programming and Community Outreach, etc…they walk the walk and talk the talk. They live by the example they want to set and have inspired us to be better and they have always offered their support for anything we need to help us along the way.
Jonathan and Wendy Rutkoff 12/30/15
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Rabbi Randall Konigsburg as the leader of your congregation. He is one of the most spiritual, yet approachable rabbis I have ever met. He is the leader who reaches out not only to the Jewish community, but to the general community as well. He is the first rabbi at our synagogue who has gotten involved with Greater Birmingham Ministries, which is a multi-religious, multilingual, organization that promotes justice, helps those who cannot help themselves, and works on developing community.
I have attended classes with him on bible study, and I have a better understanding of Torah than before. I have also attended classes with Michelle, which is another treat for a congregation. He has made a point of contacting those who are hospitalized or confined to home with visits and/or phone calls weekly. His sermons are relevant and his spirituality is evident. He supports our minyan and attends mornings and evenings every day.
Your gain is our loss.
Vicki Lewis 12/31/15
It is my pleasure to write a letter recommending Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg. During the past few years I have had the honor of working with Rabbi Konigsburg as head of his ritual committee, participating as a service leader and Torah reader and having him serve as a teacher and mentor to my children. It has also been my pleasure to get to know him personally.
Rabbi Konigsburg epitomizes for me and for my family what we need and want in a Rabbi. Rabbi Konigsburg has a very broad and detailed knowledge base regarding Jewish practice and study; he is always willing and able to serve as a resource as well as be a spiritual leader. He not only has the knowledge, but lives his life according to Jewish practices and precepts serving as an example to his congregation. His sincerity and commitment translates as well to children as adults. Children respond to his teachings and his demeanor. Rabbi Konigsburg truly cares about people and they sense that. Perhaps my teenage son expressed it best when, after completing Rabbi Konigsburg’s confirmation class he stated in a compliment, “he has changed my life.”
On a more personal note, having suffered an illness this past year I can’t say enough how meaningful Rabbi Konigsburg’s support and caring was to me and to my entire family. Rabbi Konigsburg ministers to the entire family and community, serving as a healer of the soul. It is so wonderful to walk into his congregation or onto his bima and feel as if I am part of a wonderful whole. My family and I have known many Rabbis throughout the years. It is wonderful to know that wherever life takes us and him, Rabbi Konigsburg will always be “our Rabbi.”
Naomi Cohen Ivker 12/31/15
As President of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, I want to commend and thank Rabbi Koningsburg and Michelle for their support of our mission and programs. Rabbi K. has been an advisor and participant in our programs, be it our Yom HaShoah community Commemoration which has taken place at TBE, our Kristallnacht Remembrance program, the Holocaust Film Series and many other activities we engage in throughout the year. He is especially cognizant of the Holocaust survivors who are members of our congregreation. Michelle serves on our Board of Directors, and has been extremely helpful in bringing our message to the women’s ministerial groups in Birmingham. Their attendance at our programs has been outstanding due to her diligence and interest. We are deeply appreciative of both Rabbi and Michelle’s encouragement as our organization has strengthened throughout our short history and this has been very important to our growth. We know their dedication to Keeping the History and Lessons of the Holocaust Alive will always be part of their life’s work. It is my pleasure that ‘my’ rabbi has taken this interest in what we do. Phyllis G. Weinstein, President —Birmingham Holocaust Education Center 1/17/2016
Rabbi is a great storyteller and he had the kids (and me) mesmerized with his stories.
F. P. 1/4/2016
Rabbi Konigsburg is a very passionate and learned Rabbi who really cares about his
congregants and his community. He’s always available to those in need, either in person or
with a phone call. His sermons are very thought provoking and his knowledge of the
religion and Torah is astounding. I am proud to call Rabbi K, my Rabbi. He and Michelle
have immersed themselves in to our wonderful community and have made an impact on
those that have crossed their paths. I am also proud to call Rabbi K and Michelle my friend.
Bert Siegel January 11, 2016
In the all too short time I’ve know them, Rabbi and Michelle Konigsburg have impacted my Jewish / spiritual life profoundly.
While I’ve always felt an obligation to serve on the Board and various Temple committees when asked, and given my time and expertise when needed, I have never attended services regularly, except for special occasions and the high holidays. I now attend services every Saturday morning. Why? Because I don’t want to miss Rabbi’s sermons/discussions which are always relevant and meaningful. I am very unhappy when people tell me I have missed a really great sermon, or the Rabbi’s delivery was incredible! I also show up on Saturday mornings because I think so much of Rabbi and Michelle, and want to share the Sabbath with them and the devoted family of congregants they have woven together. Observing the Sabbath at Temple Beth-El has become an unquestionable and invaluable ritual that I treasure. In short, Temple has become meaningful, and not simply an obligation or responsibility. Rabbi Konigsburg has enhanced my organized religious experience, and I am forever grateful to have had a Rabbi who humbly embodies the values and virtues others only care to read and talk about.
Rabbi Konigsburg is and will always be my go-to Rabbi. P.S. I just hope Rabbi K’s next Congregation has livestream!
Sally Downs 1/11/2016
Rabbi Konigsburg is the epitome of what a Rabbi should be. He is the only rabbi I can remember since age 14, when we lost our rabbi of 25 years, that is totally committed to his duties. It is very evident to see that he loves his duties as a rabbi. His knowledge is wonderful and he is a great speaker. Rabbi K comes to minyan morning and night. I cannot remember a rabbi that has done that since Rabbi Mesch died in 1962. Rabbi K knows the importance of having a minyan for those who have lost love ones and he goes the extra mile to get people there. He is also very caring. I always took my Mother, who I lost this August, to minyan on Sunday night. When she could no longer attend, Rabbi K cared enough to call me each Friday to check on how she and I were doing. He visited my Mother in the hospital and handled her funeral with great compassion. Phil Teninbaum Jan. 12, 2016
Rabbi Konigsburg is a great teacher and spiritual leader. We have had the honor of calling him our rabbi and he has seen us through good times and bad. He has been there for us at some of the most difficult times of life and also some of the best. He is a patient and caring person who always listens intently with concern. We are very grateful to know someone so caring, intelligent, kind and competent who is our friend and teacher. Any community that is graced with his presence will be truly blessed.
DG BG 1/5/16
We write to you because we are members of the Birmingham Jewish community who are impressed with Rabbi Konigsburg and consider him an asset to the community at large. At two interfaith recent events we were proud and grateful that Rabbi Konigsburg represented the Jewish Community and explained the precepts of Judaism so clearly.
The first event was an address by Rabbi Konigsburg to New Horizons at UAB. The members of that group are generally well educated and we were pleased that Rabbi Konigsburg accurately assessed the audience. He delivered an appropriately intellectual speech with humor and grace. Many members commented to us that they appreciated the coherent explanation of Judaism and its moral basis.
The second interfaith address was made by the Rabbi to a meeting of OLLI (the Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning) which was held at the Homewood Senior center. It was difficult to assess the audience since some were members of OLLI, while others were visitors of the Senior Center who attended simply because the event was at the Center. Rabbi Konigsburg began by asking the audience for their questions about Judaism. By so doing, he was able to determine their knowledge base and to respond appropriately.
My husband and I deeply respect Rabbi Konigsburg’s knowledge of Judaism and his ability to impart that knowledge. His commitment to interfaith dialogue and education is an important factor in combating religious prejudice. Sandra V. 10/27/15
Seldom are we privileged to cross in our path of life individuals like Michelle and Rabbi Konigsburg. We have the utmost respect for both of these beautiful people who have provided so much to Temple Beth-el in such a short period of time. We wish they could remain a part of our lives. Both of them have so much to offer. We have been members of Temple Bethel for over 55 years .They have added a great deal to our understanding of the meaning of Judaism. Since our space is limited, we wish for Rabbi and Michelle an opportunity to give of themselves that love of Judaism, understanding of their congregation wherever it may be, and receive understanding from those they serve. We are thankful that both of them touched our lives. May they be blessed for many years in the future with good health, much happiness and long life. Our Best Wishes, Sherry and Jerry Cherner 1/9/2016
To whom it may concern,
Thank you for the opportunity of giving praise to Rabbi Randall Konigsburg, through sharing with you my thoughts and experiences as High Holiday cantor at Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2014 and 2015.
I have been very moved by Rabbi Konigsburg’s depth of commitment to Judaism – and to Conservative Judaism in particular – as well as by his impressive gift in imbuing his congregation with a love of Torah, Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. His sermons were models worth emulating, touching both the mind and the heart.
Rabbi Konigsburg is a preacher and teacher possessed of wisdom, learning, and love for his congregants. As I witnessed, he knows each one by name; and as he greeted each one at the end of the services, he knew who among them was ill, or suffering, or else experiencing a joyous period in his or her life, and revealed great empathy for one and all.
Working with Rabbi Konigsburg as we shared the High Holidays’ “bima” was both a pleasure and a privilege, and I consider myself fortunate to have served as his colleague. He has a great deal to give, and he gives it unstintingly. I wish him well in his future path, and recommend him to any and every congregation in the highest terms.
Moshav Avichayil, Israel
As an academic physician, I have been a member of a conservative synagogue in every city that I have either trained in or served as a medical faculty member. In three cities, Newton MA, Indianapolis IN and Birmingham AL, I have served on or directed the synagogue’s ritual practice committee. It was my privilege to serve as the chairman of the ritual practice committee of Temple Beth El of Birmingham AL for 7 years and participate in the rabbinical search committee that selected Rabbi Konigsburg. Among my memories of outstanding rabbinical leadership in previous congregations; Rabbi Samuel Chiel, Rabbi Samuel Schwartz (my late father in law) and Rabbi Dennis Sasso stand out. All of these individuals viewed the rabbinate as a calling, were excellent teachers, viewed pastoral duties as an obligation, not as a chore and supported and vigorously promoted the spiritual and educational activities of their synagogues. Rabbi Konigsburg is the equal of these individuals and in some ways is superior.
Our congregation is the only synagogue in AL that has a twice daily minyan. Except on rare occasions, Rabbi Konigsburg participates in and often leads the daily services. His support of the minyan is strengthened both by bulletin announcements and calls from the bimah.He is a dedicated teacher and biblical scholar and thinker. My wife and I have been eager participants in his Torah and philosophy studies classes for the past two years. His classes are taught with enthusiasm and mutual participation.
Shabbat services are always highlighted by his personal prayer before the ark and a meaningful sermon that includes application of the parsha to our experiences today and reflects current rabbinic thought. Unlike, many, his words are always heartfelt and carefully considered. Life cycle events are conducted in an outstanding way; non Jewish relations are made to feel part of the event; funerals are conducted with dignity and care; and baby namings and bar and bat mitzvahs are joyous events. Rabbi Konigsburg is an outstanding pastor who takes his role as a comforter of the sick and grieving, and uplifter of the poor very seriously. Part of virtually every day is devoted to congregants in need. His background in hospice care makes him especially effective. Rabbi Konigsburg, has been wonderful resource in helping the ritual committee to coordinate Torah readings, HH services and recently the background and decision to open an area of our cemetery for non-Jewish partners of our congregants. Rabbi Konigsburg participates regularly in outreach activities in our community and is a prized speaker in churches, Jewish and non-Jewish events and in special educational activities such as his recent presentation concerning the Jewish background of “ Access to Health Care in America”. In short, Rabbi Konigsburg has fulfilled my own personal check list of attributes of an ideal rabbi. I would be happy to answer any questions that
you might have. S. Edwin Fineberg MD January 7, 2016
Rabbi Konigsburg is a kind, caring, and compassionate Rabbi who truly loves his Judaism and his God. Marsha Asman 1/17/2016
I did, however, want to let you know how wonderful Rabbi Konigsburg was during our daughter’s wedding planning and the day of the wedding. He was gracious, helpful, and most of all, made David and Blair feel very welcome and loved. Although I probably shouldn’t speak on behalf of Blair and David, I believe one of the main reasons why they joined and feel so comfortable at Temple Beth El was because of Rabbi Konigsburg. Mindy H. 11/15
You were there for us at a very difficult time in our lives -when I had surgery- and your visit and calls meant a lot. But most importunately was something I will never forget: the first time I returned to services after my surgery, you left the bimah in the middle of services and came down to where I was and gave me a hug. The compassion and kindness, as well as the gratitude for my well-being, that that gesture showed is something that I remember every time I see you, and it reflects the kind of man- and Rabbi -that you are. We admire your compassion for others and the way you live your life guided by the principles of our religion, and the model that this serves for our congregation is inspiring. Wayne and Rhoda F. 10/11/15
You made the Temple a comfortable place for me to be. You made services enjoyable. You made beautiful music. Thank you. I am so glad our paths have crossed. It has made a major difference in my life. Thank you for your friendship. It has meant the world to me and is valued beyond words. Bari S. 10/31/15
Words cannot express how much your phone calling and prayers have meant to me. The High Holidays were simply beautiful. You are an amazing man, a wonderful leader and the best Rabbi I could ever want! Thank you a million times. Nancy L. 10/15
Since your arrival, I have been most impressed with your integrity, kindness and compassion as well as your capabilities as a Rabbi. You and Michelle have added a zest for Jewish life in our Temple Community. Dorothy Z. 10/10/15
Dear Rabbi and Michelle, Know that you are loved by many and we are all better off for having you in our lives. Arlene F. 10/31/15
“Rabbi Konigsburg has always impressed me with his love of prayer, kindness, and his commitment to social justice through his prophetic words from the pulpit and actions at the community level. Also, Rabbi Konigsburg has been incredibly accessible as my fiancee and I prepare for our wedding, for which I will always be thankful. ” Daniel Schwartz Nov. 2015