In 3rd Chautauqua visit, Ed Feinstein to serve as chaplain


Mary Lee Talbot
Staff writer

Rabbi Ed Feinstein is making his third trip to Chautauqua, and each time he has come he has had a different role. 

“During the summer season 2017, I was honored to speak for the Religion Department at Chautauqua on the origins of Jewish faith,” he said. 

Subsequently, he was invited to serve as a scholar for the Chautauqua Clergy Leadership program. This time, Feinstein will serve as chaplain for Week Nine. 

“There really is no place on earth like Chautauqua, and I am thrilled to be invited back, as a chaplain for this concluding week of an exciting summer,” Feinstein said. “I look forward to the learning, the fellowship, and the unique spirit of Chautauqua.” 

He will preach a sermon titled “How Can You Sleep?” at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning service of worship in the Amphitheater. He will also preach at the 9:15 a.m. Monday through Friday services of worship in the Amp. His sermon titles include: “We Don’t Throw People Away,” “The Oldest Story in the World,” “Of Hope and Fear” and “The Questions that Won’t Go Away.” 

Feinstein is rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, and lecturer at the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University. He serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Program and the Shalom Hartman Institute, and lectures widely across the United States and Canada.

Raised on the frontier of the West San Fernando Valley, Feinstein graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Columbia University Teachers College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a rabbi and earned his doctorate in education. He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas. 

He has also served as associate rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas, and executive director of Camp Ramah in California. He came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1993.

Feinstein is the author of five books, including Tough Questions Jews Ask, which is taught in schools and synagogues across North America. 

His latest book, In Pursuit of Godliness and a Living Judaism, is an intellectual biography of his mentor, Rabbi Harold Schulweis.


The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.