What does Saratoga Springs have that no other place in the U.S. does? Well, hundreds of things, but one hidden treasure you might not know about is a special couple serving Temple Sinai.
Linda Motzkin and Jonathan Rubenstein are the only married rabbi couple in the U.S. who share services in the same synogogue. They met in Jerusalem, and attended seminary at Hewbrew Union College in Cincinnati.
Their first assignment as rabbis was at Temple Sinai in Saratoga. At the time, the temple was around 20 years old and had been served primarily by student rabbis. Against the advice of many, the couple decided to try sharing their duties and see if that would work.
It has worked for 25 years.
Not only has the arrangement functioned, it has flourished in the temple. During their quarter-century of service, Motzkin and Rubenstein have seen the congregation nearly quadruple from 60 to 210 houses.
How does it work? The rabbinical couple shares all of their duties equally – co-leading services, sharing hospital visits, even folding laundry together. Among the couple’s many shared achievements is proud parenthood of three grown children, the eldest of whom is studying to follow in her parents’ footsteps.
When they are not working together, husband and wife each make strong contributions to the community. Motzkin is the Jewish chaplain at Skidmore College, while Rubenstein is a part-time pastoral care director at Four Winds-Saratoga.
The rabbi couple’s alma mater, Hebrew Union College, has awarded the rabbis with honorary doctorates in divinity for their 25 years of service at Temple Sinai – their first and only assignment.