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Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein serves as the assistant rabbi of Beth-El Congregation. Growing up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Rabbi Ottenstein’s Jewish identity was shaped by his family as well as his experiences growing up at Bet Shalom, at Temple Israel’s Camp TEKO, Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute, the URJ camp in Wisconsin, and by a trip to Israel with the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program. He was active in both his Temple Youth Group as well as the NFTY Northern Region, serving on the boards of each organization. He was also a member of his local BBYO AZA chapter.
Rabbi Ottenstein graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Jewish Studies and Hebrew and Semitic Studies. After graduating, he began a career in Jewish Education at Central Reform Congregation (CRC) in St. Louis, Missouri. Serving in a number of positions within the education department, including that of confirmation teacher, he ultimately became the Director of Lifelong Learning and was responsible for the synagogue’s religious school program, youth programs, and adult education courses. Additionally, he represented the congregation on the St. Louis Jewish Educator’s Council and Jewish Family Education Network. While serving at CRC, Rabbi Ottenstein earned his Masters of Arts (MAT) in Teaching Secondary Education with an emphasis on Secondary Social Studies. After receiving his MAT, he was granted the title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) by the RJE Title Granting Commission and the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE).
Rabbi Ottenstein earned his Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2013 and was ordained a rabbi in 2014 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio. While a student, he was awarded the Rabbi Morris H. Youngerman Memorial Prize, which is awarded to the rabbinical student on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR who delivers the best sermon during the academic year, and the Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman Prize which is awarded to the senior rabbinical student who is judged to have contributed the most to the development of community and community relations. His rabbinic thesis was titled “Mishnah Horayot: An Exploration of Rabbinic Authority.” At HUC-JIR, he served in a variety of capacities on many committees including the Rabbinical School Association (student government), chairman of the Student Ministrations Committee, student representative to the Rabbinical School Admissions Committee, and the student representative to the Rabbinical School Executive Committee. He also served as the sole student representative to the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellowship Working Group. Rabbi Ottenstein was selected by his peers to serve as the president of the senior class. He was also selected by members of the faculty to represent the College-Institute at the 2013 Emerging Religious Leaders Institute sponsored by the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies.
During his tenure at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Ottenstein served many facets of the Jewish community. He was a religious school teacher at the Isaac M. Wise Temple and at Kulanu-The Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School. He also served as a chaplain intern at both the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati and at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He has served student congregations in Texarkana, Texas and Portsmouth, Ohio. He has served, within these communities, the inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana and the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. Rabbi Ottenstein was also a rabbinic intern for Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, The Cedars-Jewish Center for the Aged in St. Louis, and at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA), which is located on the campus of the Hebrew Union College. During his internship at Rockdale, he was proud to be able to coordinate the congregation’s involvement in the Cincinnati Pridefest and Pride Parade. Additionally, he served on the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Since coming to Fort Worth, Rabbi Ottenstein has become involved in the local Jewish community, joining the board of the Jewish Education Agency/Lil Goldman Early Learning Center, as well as serving on its Education Committee and its Executive Director Search Committee. He also serves on the Jewish Family Services committee.
Rabbi Ottenstein is married to Marni Phon, a Certified Pediatric Nurse and RN, whom he met on his trip to Israel in high school and who also is a proud Wisconsin alumna. They welcomed their son, Noah, to the family in August of 2011. Their second son, Kaden, was born in February 2015. They also have a goldendoodle, Keshet.
Contact Rabbi Ottenstein at email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @jmottenstein