Greetings and thanks for coming to my website. I’m Rabbi Patrick Beaulier. Feel free to call me Rabbi Patrick. I’m a non-traditional rabbi, spiritual seeker and facilitator. Here you’ll find a little about myself, my approach to Judaism, speaking engagements, and services.
Small Batch, Locally Sourced, Artisanal Judaism
I am the rabbi for a pop-up Jewish community called Kehillah. An independent alternative to “synagogue” in Richmond, VA, Kehillah provides Jewish life through small events such as Shabbat at VA Pride, where we were the first and only Jewish presence for the LGBTQ community. We also run Carytown Hanukkah, Passover Dinner Theater and our home-hosted Shabbat dinners.
Additionally, I am a member of the Richmond Rabbinical Association and provide volunteer chaplaincy to the Chesterfield Jail and various hospitals in Richmond.
Jewish Life Online
I am the proud founder of Darshan Yeshiva, the world’s only distance learning based conversion to Judaism program with rabbis from all recognized streams of Judaism in America, Canada and Italy.
I also serve as Director of Innovation for Pluralistic Rabbinical Seminary.
I have had the pleasure of writing/editing several books including Ahavah Rabbah, PunkTorah: The First Anthology and the NewKosher Vegan Cookbook, as well as countless articles for blogs such as PunkTorah and My Jewish Learning. I am also a contributor to Ritualwell, a project of the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism.
I was ordained by RSI, an independent rabbinical program in Manhattan, founded by the late Rabbi Joseph Gelberman. Additionally, I am a Prepare-Enrich certified premarital and relationship coach as well as a Psychological First Aid provider and completed a certificate in Spirituality, Health and Healing through Clayton State University.
I have been featured in three books, The New Reform Judaism: Challenges and Reflections, Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal, Oy Oy Oy Gevalt!: Jews and Punk, as well as the Times of Israel, the Atlanta Jewish Times, and several other Jewish newspapers, magazines and blogs.
I also served as educator for the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond’s first Honeymoon Israel trip.
My wife and I live with our two cats Maggie and Toes.
I am available to answer your questions and to help you on life’s journey, so feel free to email me anytime.
What I Believe
As a religiously progressive Jew, and someone who believes in the importance of mixing Jewish customs with innovation, I prefer to be defined by what I believe in, and not what I choose to reject.
God is a lived experience. There is a God of the philosophers, the intellectuals and the historians. While I would never seek to denigrate other people’s understanding of the Divine, I have never had a need to understand God this way. I believe that there is an experience that is a part of us, and yet entirely beyond us. It is the source of everything in the universe, the source of transcendence, the source of life. I choose to call this “God”, because that word (for better and worse) best encompasses my understanding of the nature of reality. I have no problem with people who choose a different term, or who understand God in a different way. Holiness is not mutually exclusive.
Judaism is both the religion of the Jewish people, as well as the shared cultural folkways and history of the ancient Jewish family. I affirm as holy both the religious and cultural aspects of Jewish life, as both of these forces bring us into a sense of covenant with one another.
For Judaism to survive, it must innovate. We honor God and the Jewish tradition by recognizing and celebrating its innovative nature. Judaism has served as a national identity, a spiritual practice and a cultural framework, but always open to new ideas and ways of interpreting itself. We should not be afraid of the innovation that is built into the very framework of Jewish life.
My only rule is that you are in charge. Whether I am performing a wedding, leading a Shabbat weekend, or giving a presentation to your synagogue or school, I believe that you are in charge and that I have a responsibility to provide you with the best experience possible.