One America Voices Interview: Larry Sernovitz

The One America Movement is excited to launch a new initiative called One America Voices. Twice a week, we will publish short interviews with Americans from all walks of life. By hearing each other’s stories, we can begin to reduce the divisiveness and polarization in our society. Enjoy – share with your networks and on social media using the hashtag: #1AmericaVoices

Larry Sernovitz

Cherry Hill, NJ

Rabbi: Nafshenu

1. Tell us about Nafshenu, the synagogue you are building:

A: Nafshenu is one of the most, if not the most, exhilarating experiences I have had in my life. Nafshenu was born out of the realization that Judaism needs to be bold, courageous, and transformative to meet the diversity of needs in the Jewish community today. We are a non-denominational, egalitarian Jewish community, recognizing that movement labels can limit us instead of liberate us. There is too much judgment in the Jewish world and people are really looking for spirituality and purpose, for a community that is focused on building authentic relationships, for Jewish life that is more than just transactional. Nafshenu was founded to reclaim and reimagine Judaism in an ever changing modern world. We believe that Judaism can and must be relevant and spiritual, provide inspirational learning, build organic community, and be a powerful voice for social change. Every day I hear stories from individuals who are looking to connect after being unaffiliated for so long, or in some cases, who have never been connected.

2. How did you meet your spouse?

A: Becky and I met while I was a rabbinical student in New York City. I was given her number from a colleague, and never called. I wasn’t interested in another blind date at the time. However, when we did actually meet, at that same person’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I kicked myself for never calling. It was a reminder that you never know what will happen when you take a risk and say yes. She really is my rock, my support, and my best friend. Everyday when I wake up and see her, and our three children, I feel blessed to have created a life with her.

3. What’s the best thing about living in Southern New Jersey?

A: When I grew up in the Northern Suburbs of Philadelphia, I was told that you could never live across the river. However, when we eventually moved to Cherry Hill, I realized what a hidden gem South Jersey happened to be. Outside of the obvious shopping districts and good schools, the diversity of South Jersey is what makes it strong. I treasure the relationship I have with multi-faith clergy partners here and how we are bringing people together to do good and to change the world for the better. I should add that there is great food here and I can still be a Philadelphia sports fan, as tough as that can be!

To learn more about the One America Movement, Click Here. 

To invest in our work to fight back against polarization, division and hate, Click Here. 

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