Temple Israel of Brevard | Reform Synagogue Brevard County, Florida


Meet Our Rabbi

From the desk of Rabbi Karen Fanwick:

Thirty-five years ago, I began my spiritual journey. It began with meeting a man who would later became my husband. On our very first date, I discovered he is Jewish. I had been pondering Judaism for a time, but had never taken a step towards speaking with a Rabbi and beginning that journey.

After Phil and I married, I began the process of converting from something I really wasn’t to something I longed to be. Once I completed my process, I began singing for the Temple we belonged to and became the cantorial soloist. I devoured everything I could regarding Jewish music and attended as many workshops as I could to learn as much as I could. I taught music in the religious school and, after learning Hebrew, taught Hebrew to the children in my congregation. I also taught adults.

Fast forward to 2013. I had been looking into attending Rabbinic school at various institutions, but none was workable with my schedule. Unable to relocate to attend school, I chanced upon a remote learning situation in which I could study with individuals all over the world to become a rabbi! The program is called Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute. I applied, was accepted, completed the program and am now an ordained rabbi, specializing in working with smaller congregations.

After serving Temple Israel West Lafayette, IN for two years as the rabbi in residence, I retired thinking that my rabbinic days were behind me. They were not. This spring, I applied for the job as rabbi for Temple Israel of Brevard in Melbourne, FL and was hired to lead this wonderful group of people as their spiritual leader.

I am originally from the state of Indiana. I lived there for many years with my husband Phil where we raised three wonderful children now adults all still residing in Indiana. We live (I say live because my husband is still there!) on a hobby farm with 10 acres of land. At one point in time we had 3 horses, a dog, two cats and three turtles. In my spare time, I like to quilt and play bridge. I am an avid “birder” and also a sports enthusiast.

I feel so very blessed to have found this congregation and look forward to helping them heal, move forward and be the best congregation they can be.

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