Jason Mark (’22), rabbi at Congregation Etz Chayim, observes High Holidays in Toledo

October 9, 2022

Published in The Blade

Death and dying are persistent themes for Rabbi Jason Mark.
He’s a full-time hospital chaplain in West Virginia, and reflected on the themes in preparation for the Jewish New Year in late September. He again brought those spiritual questions with him on his 4 1/2-hour drive from Morgantown, W.Va., to Toledo on Tuesday, when he tuned into the audiobook Walking Each Other Home.
Rabbi Mark made the “beautiful” trip to Toledo to observe the Jewish High Holidays with Toledo’s Congregation Etz Chayim. Rosh Hashanah started on Sept. 25, and he returned to Toledo on Tuesday for Yom Kippur.
“We were able to leave time in the middle of the services to … create face-to-face conversations, a chance to reconnect to the community around the New Year,” Rabbi Mark said. “I thought it was a really meaningful service.”
After his ordination in June, Rabbi Mark accepted a part-time position with the congregation, in an arrangement that will see him come to town once a month to offer in-person Shabbat services, as well as participate in community events and holidays. He succeeds Rabbi Evan Rubin, who left the congregation for a new position in California in 2020. Rabbi Mark, then a student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York City, lived in Toledo and led services and programming at Etz Chayim in 2021.
“He was just a real bright light to our synagogue, being young and enthusiastic,” administrator Elsa Leveton said. “Everyone loved listening to him and his takes on topics.”
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