Meet Rabbi Fred



The Congregation of Temple Bet Yam is pleased to welcome Rabbi Fred Raskind as our new spiritual leader. Before coming to us, Rabbi Raskind served Congregation B’nai Abraham in Hagerstown Maryland for the past ten years.

Synchronicity played a part in the Rabbi’s decision to move to St. Augustine. His fiancée, Judy Holmes, has close friends here and during the Rabbi’s past sabbatical to Florida, she encouraged him to experience the area’s beauty and history. He subsequently visited twice, and immediately “had a return affinity for St. Augustine.” He became aware of the part-time rabbinical position at Temple Bet Yam at a time when he was looking forward to semi-retirement. It was, as he puts it, “the perfect storm of everything coming together.”

Rabbi Fred likes to live life with a sense of humor. He is eager to establish relationships and partnerships with members of the congregation and the interfaith community and wants the congregation “to get to know me as a person.” Both he and Judy are looking forward to exploring St Augustine and Northeast Florida and are already impressed with everything the area has to offer. Judy, who has a doctorate in Education, is Professor Emeritus at Frostburg State University, MD. Some of their joint interests include theatre, concerts, college football, biking, and great weather to enjoy riding in their 1973 Mustang. Rabbi also enjoys old movies, classical music and 50’s rock.

Rabbi Fred feels he has a strong sense of the pulpit, managing crises, and conducting life cycle events. He looks forward to establishing connections with Religious School parents, planning Sunday coffees, and bringing children into the services. He also plans to teach advanced Hebrew to the older children. The Rabbi is a proponent of technology. “In Haggerstown, where many of the families lived at distance from the Temple, he was able to utilize skype to work with children preparing for B’nai Mitzvahs.

After spending time with the Rabbinical Search Committee, Board members, and congregants, Rabbi Fred decided that even if he had not applied for the Rabbinical position, Temple Bet Yam was the kind of congregational community he would have chosen to be a part of. Welcome Rabbi Fred and Judy to the TBY family.

Rabbi Raskind was born and educated in Boston. He graduated from Boston University and then attended Columbia University where he studied philosophy and comparative religion. He also took coursework at three Divinity Schools, Boston University, Union Theological Seminary (NYC) and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary He was ordained at Hebrew Union College, New York and has served pulpits in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Since 2003 he has served as Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Abraham in Hagerstown Maryland and has been active in the Interfaith Coalition, HARC (Hagerstown Area Religious Council) and ORCH club. Rabbi Raskind also served for two years as part-time Jewish Chaplain at the V.A. facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia.