Rabbi Mark Biller, spiritual leader of Temple Gates of Prayer in Queens, New York, led a short, yet fascinating class on a thought-provoking Talmudic story–full of miracles, strong personalities, rabbinic tensions, and even a visit with the prophet Elijah! Rabbi Biller’s intriguing session was held via Zoom on Thursday, April 23, at 1 p.m.

The class was part of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), West Morris Section’s Our Jewish World Clergy Learning Series, coordinated by Ilene Dorf Manahan and Melanie Levitan, both of Morristown.

 Said Rabbi Biller, “This ancient story has an oh-so-relevant message for today.” Called “The Oven of Akhnai,” it focuses on the nature of law and authority, concerns over a fractured and divisive community, and the issue of the influence we have on other individuals through our words and actions.

Rabbi Biller specializes in the art of storytelling, and counseling Jews of all ritual levels looking to find meaning in both modern life and rich Jewish traditions. The spiritual leader of synagogues in his native Canada, as well as in Alabama, New York and New Jersey, the rabbi received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also studied BiblioDrama with Peter Pitzele at the Union Theological Seminary, and completed a two-year Spiritual Direction course at Elat Chayyim, designed to help participants teach others how to identify and follow their own spiritual paths.