Today is June 12, 2024 -

Meet Our Clergy

Rabbi Dr. Kari Tuling

Phone: (860) 633-3966


Chances are, if you are reading this section, you are interested in finding a rabbi and/or a congregation.

What you should know: I am a seeker; I have not always been sure in my own faith; I have found my way to this place through questioning. I am interested in hearing about your path.

I was ordained in 2004, and received my PhD in 2013, both from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. I also have earned a MA in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. My book, Thinking About God: Jewish Views was published by the JPS/University of Nebraska Press in August 2020. I’ve taught at the University of Cincinnati, SUNY Plattsburgh, and Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. 

In my own personal spiritual work, I have found meditation to be particularly helpful. If you are interested in developing your own practice, here are a few pointers:

  • Set a time each day for meditation and reflection. I find that first thing in the morning works particularly well. Leave a note on your phone or alarm clock to remind you to meditate.
  • Find a place to sit where you can see outside: personally, I like to look out at the trees.
  • Set a timer, so that you won’t be worried about how much time has passed.
  • Find a comfortable position (I like to sit on a cushion on the floor) and, once settled, just let your mind be still for a moment.
  • If you notice that you are bombarded with distracting thoughts (‘what is for breakfast? Do we have any milk?’) acknowledge them and put them aside.
  • Even if nothing happens – all you do is sit there silently – the practice has value. Stay with it.
  • If you find it difficult to sit still for 15 or 20 or 30 minutes (for example, you get stiff from sitting in one position too long), feel free to stretch and move a bit.

If you are finding, in the course of meditation, that the first thing that comes up for you is an old argument or disagreement, stay with that awareness for a moment. What is left unresolved? Why are you still angry? Did you feel that you were not heard? Are you avoiding the strong emotions associated with that event?

If you meditate for several days in a row on a specific incident, it is likely that you will find yourself gaining new perspectives on this conflict. You will become less attached to the outcome and more open to trying a new approach. That has been my experience.

Meditation can also be a gateway to prayer: by learning to quiet your mind, you can also learn to stop and appreciate all that is wonderful and beautiful in the chaotic stream of life.

Kol tuv – all the best to you,

Rabbi Dr. Kari Tuling

Rabbi Tuling was featured on the HUC College Commons Podcast – click here to listen to the episode.

Cantor Lauren Bandman

Cantor Lauren Bandman joins us each year for the High Holidays.

Cantor Bandman is a consultant and worship leader in congregations throughout the U.S. She is founder, owner and instructor at The Studio: Private Music Lessons, LLC in the historic German Village neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, where she maintains a thriving studio teaching voice, piano, guitar, audition preparation (specializing in musical theatre), and Jewish Studies – including cantillation. She delights in teaching her students who range from age 7 to 70s!

Cantor Bandman is co-creator and performer of Love’s Journey, a one-woman show of musical theatre and American standards that tells of a woman’s journey through life and love. She was also honored to be selected to travel to Rome to perform in the first ever concert of Jewish music at the Vatican.

Cantor Bandman received her Bachelor of Music Education with high honors, summa cum laude, from The Ohio State University, where she studied a classical approach to singing through aria and art song and specialized in choral conducting. She earned her Master of Sacred Music and Cantorial Ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.

For more information about Cantor Bandman, visit her website or find her on Facebook.