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May 8, 2013

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"Jews on the Chocolate Trail" by Rabbi Debbie Prinz

Deborah R. Prinz's book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, was published in the fall of 2012 by Jewish Lights. She was awarded a Starkoff Fellowship and a Director's Fellowship from the American Jewish Archives as well as a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship from the Rockefeller Library to pursue this research. This project stirs age-old passions for chocolate and religion using information gathered from travel in several countries, including Belgium, Egypt, England, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. It spans several cultures, countries, centuries, and religions, exploring how faith traditions share consumption, ritual and business interests in chocolate. Rabbi Prinz lectures on this topic around the world in a number of settings, including historical societies, JCC’s, rabbinical associations, synagogue groups, and food conferences. She blogs at jews-onthechocolatetrail.org.

Rabbi Prinz currently serves the Central Conference of American Rabbis as Director of Program and Member Services and the Director of the Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring, having held a number of leadership positions in the national and regional Reform movement. She was honored to conduct the worship services at regional and national biennials of the Union for Reform Judaism. Elected by her colleagues, Rabbi Prinz held each office of the Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis and assumed its presidency in 2005. For many years she served as a member of the Executive Committee of the U.R.J.-C.C.A.R. Commission on Outreach & Synagogue Community.

The Rabbi Emerita of Temple Adat Shalom, Poway, California, she served as its Senior Rabbi for almost twenty years. Prior to that she was, for seven years, the Rabbi of a synagogue in Bergen County, New Jersey, and also the Assistant Rabbi of Central Synagogue in Manhattan. She has delivered many talks to community organizations.

During her almost thirty years in congregational work, Rabbi Prinz contributed to the local Jewish community as well. She held all offices of the Executive Committee, including President, of the San Diego Rabbinical Association. In her position as a member of the Steering Committee of the United Jewish Federation’s Task Force on Jewish Continuity and Co-Chair of the Interfaith Committee, she was instrumental in bringing the Pathways program (outreach to interfaith children and families) to San Diego. In 1991,

she was named “Woman of the Year” by Brandeis University National Women’s Committee. Together with other community leaders, she successfully worked to change the calendar of the Poway Unified School District to avoid the conflict of the first day of school falling on Rosh Hashanah. Along with an Episcopal colleague in Teaneck, she developed an interfaith dialogue program which included an interfaith tour to Israel. Temple Adat Shalom, under her leadership, participated in a dialogue with the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation of Poway and with Chabad of Rancho Bernardo. She has led many trips to Israel.

The author of several articles, she has published in scholarly, professional and popular journals such as CCAR Journal, Hebrew Union College Annual, American Rabbi, Reform Judaism Magazine, and Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Yearbook. Articles and blogs about and interviews of Rabbi Prinz have appeared in the national and local media.

Rabbi Prinz is married to Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, is the proud mother of Avigail and Noam & Rachel and is the amazed grandmother of Amiel.

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