Rabbi Micah Greenstein

Rabbi Micah Greenstein

Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Memphis, TN

  1. Who have been the important role models in your life? How have they shaped you?  

    My parents who sacrificed everything for my education and upbringing. My children whose character, achievements, and positive outlook about the future give me hope (versus the despair of people my age and older). My wife who is the definition of selflessness, always putting others before herself. Generous people regardless of income level have shaped me. They have taught me that it’s never a matter of what we have but how much we give that matters most.

  2. If you could spend a day with one Biblical figure, who would it be and what would you hope to explore with him/her? 

    I would enjoy spending the day with Job. I would like to hear how he found the strength to meet adversity, as well as, the courage to tell his friends they were wrong when they tried to explain his afflictions as "tests," and, even punishments from God.

  3. In your forward to Margaret B. Ingraham’s book—This Holy Alphabet: Lyric Poems Adapted from Psalm 119—you posit that “God created the world by means of the twenty-two Hebrew letters.” What would you like non-Jews to understand about this beautifully evocative idea? 

    I would like readers of "This Holy Alphabet" to understand that creation is ever-evolving, unfolding, and brimming with infinite possibilities.  The early rabbis teach that there are 70 faces to every letter in the 79,847 words in the first Five Books of Moses alone!

  4. In April of 2012 you were named by Newsweek as one of America’s 50 most influential rabbis. What opportunities does your influence provide, and how do you remain grounded? 

    In every profession, the quality and caliber of colleagues can inspire new initiatives and breakthrough thinking. The rabbinate is already a small fraternity/sorority; leadership at the top is even closer. How do I remain grounded? I may have been named among the 50 most influential rabbis in America, but in my house, I'm not even in the top 50! Just ask my wife.

  5. As senior rabbi of Tennessee’s largest synagogue, you have given many interviews over the years. What is the question you’ve been waiting for but have never been asked? 

    Question I've yet to be asked leading Tennessee's largest synagogue?  "How will the proud and historic Memphis Jewish community survive without a major infusion of new blood?"