Though America has made incredible strides toward a more inclusive society since same-sex couples nationwide gained the freedom to marry last June, anti-LGBT discrimination is alive and well. Rabbi Berg has been witness to it year after year, in three Temples, across three states—Texas, New Jersey, and now Georgia.
For eight years, Rabbi Peter Berg has been serving as Senior Rabbi of the Temple in Atlanta – the largest Jewish congregation in Georgia, and Atlanta’s oldest. And even with that long history and impressive size, what really attracted Rabbi Berg to this particular congregation was its role as a major player in social justice movements of the past 150 years.
“All of the Rabbis of the Temple have had, over time, an important voice in the community in raising the bar for social justice and speaking truth to power,” Rabbi Berg said.
Now he follows in their footsteps. A long time activist, Rabbi Berg has been involved in diverse issues – from fighting to help free enslaved Soviet Jews, to mobilizing funds to end homelessness and hunger, to advocacy for universal preschool education.
The Temple recruited him years ago in part because of his community work. “I’m often called upon to speak on behalf of the Jewish community, and I’m proud to do it,” Rabbi Berg said. “My role as Rabbi of the Temple is also to be a Rabbi of the community.”
Today he is taking a stand, as a representative of his congregation and of Georgia’s Jewish community at large, in staunch opposition to the rash of discriminatory religious exemption bills now under consideration by the Georgia General Assembly.
“We have a politically diverse congregation at the Temple of Atlanta, with members from all different political views,” Berg said.