Torat Yovel: The Torah of Jubilee

Nov 8, Dec. 19, Feb. 13, Mar. 26, May 13
Hosted by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Torat Yovel: The Torah of Jubilee celebration

The Torat Yovel: The Torah of Jubilee yearly celebration was created by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association to honor those rabbis who have been in the rabbinate for fifty years.

The year 2023-2024 marks 51 years of a Reconstructionist rabbinate. We were thrilled to celebrate and honor Rabbi Steve Stroiman on Nov. 8, Rabbi Saul Perlmutter on Dec. 19, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso on Feb. 13, Rabbi Dennis Sasso on March 26, and Rabbi David Brusin on May 13. 

Each rabbi will reflected on fifty years in the rabbinate in a public virtual presentation. At the conclusion of his talk, each rabbi will be presented with a signed and numbered art print commissioned for this occasion by renowned artist Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky.

Please make a contribution in recognition of our honorees and their legacies of commitment to the Jewish people. For more information, click here.

For those interested in learning more about the founding of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, click here.

2024 HONOREES

Rabbi David Brusin (RRC '74)

With his wife, Sandy, and his two children, Josh and Yoni, Rabbi David Brusin moved to Milwaukee in 1986 to take a position as Director of Jewish Studies at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, a position he held for seven and a half years.


In his first few years in Milwaukee, Rabbi David was asked, on numerous occasions, to speak to several Havurot, small study groups, about Reconstructionism. People liked what they heard and wanted more. Rabbi David encouraged them to attend services in Evanston, Illinois, at JRC, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation. Not long after, they asked him if he would help them create a Reconstructionist synagogue in Milwaukee. As they say, the rest is history. Four years later, in 1993, Rabbi David left the Day School and become Shir's first resident rabbi, a position he proudly held for twenty-one years until his retirement in 2014.


Rabbi David was in the first graduating class at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He also received an M.A. and an ABD in philosophy at Temple University. He taught at local colleges throughout his tenure at Shir Hadash and he continues to teach at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and at Ripon College.

Rabbi Saul Perlmutter (RRC '74)

Rabbi Saul Perlmutter has worked as a Hebrew school teacher, the Youth Director of Temple Beth Sholom in Elkins Park, PA (the synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), summer camp counselor, and Executive Director of Hillel at UMass Amherst. He also manufactured mattresses as a summer job and my be the only rabbi who knows how to make a mattress - a skill, he quips, that only comes in handy when services go on too long...

Saul's diverse educational training includes a BA in History from Brandeis University, a Master's degree in Religion from Temple University, and a Master of Social Work degree from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. His Rabbinical Ordination is from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He spent an undergraduate year studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a second year on sabbatical in Israel with his wife, Shoshana Zonderman, and their two children, Ariela and Noam.

Saul is an avid bicycler and you may see him biking to Sons of Zion from his home in Florence, MA . His other hobbies include vegetable gardening, swimming, hiking, and occasionally strumming the guitar. He is an environmental activist and a volunteer at various social service agencies.

Under his leadership, UMass Hillel became the first and only six-time winner of National Hillel's Haber Award for programs of outstanding quality for the Jewish campus community. He was voted Best Local Spiritual Leader in the only year that the Valley Advocate included that category in their annual reader's poll. Services that Saul leads include lively, interactive Torah discussions that engage our minds and participatory singing that lifts our spirits.

Rabbi Sandy Sasso (RRC '74)

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was the first woman ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1974), and the first to serve a Conservative congregation together with her husband, Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso as the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history. Following 36 years of service to Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, Indiana, she is now its Senior Rabbi Emerita. She is the founder of the Religion, Spirituality and Arts Initiative at Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University at Indianapolis.

Sasso is active in the arts, civic and interfaith communities and has written and lectured on women, spirituality, and children's religious imagination. She received her B.A. Magna Cum Laude and M.A. from Temple University. She received a Doctor of Ministry from Christian Theological Seminary. She is the recipient of awards and honorary Doctorates from universities, theological seminaries, and civic institutions.

Sasso is the author of nationally acclaimed children's books, winning National Jewish Book and Indiana Authors Awards. She is a recipient of a Sagamore of the Wabash (by the Governor of Indiana), Heritage Keepers Award (Indiana State Museum), Spirit of the Prairie (Conner Prairie Museum), and Torchbearer Award (Indiana Commission of Women). She and Dennis C. Sasso were designated "Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year" by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and recognized as "Hoosier Jewish Legends" by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society.

Active in the civic, interfaith, and arts communities, she served as President of Gleaners Food Bank and Chair of the Spirit and Place Festival, a statewide festival of the arts, humanities, and religion. She currently serves on the boards of Indiana Humanities, Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, and Advisory Board of Indiana University at Indianapolis. In 2016 she co-founded Women4Change Indiana, a statewide organization of 5000 focused on educating, equipping, and mobilizing Hoosiers to create positive change for women.

Rabbi Sasso and her husband are the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history. In 2022 they were named "Indiana Living Legends" by the Indiana Historical Society and were listed by the Indianapolis Business Journal among the most influential leaders in Indiana. They are the parents of Dr. David A. Sasso (Dr. Naomi Libby) and Dr. Debora S. Herold (Dr. Bradley). They are the proud grandparents of Darwin, Ari, Levi, and Raven.

Rabbi Dennis Sasso (RRC '74)

Rabbi Dennis Sasso is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, where he served as Senior Rabbi since 1977, when he and Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso became spiritual leaders of the congregation. He was born and raised in Panama, a descendant of Sephardic Jews that settled in the Caribbean (Curaçao and St. Thomas) in the 17th – 18thcenturies.

Rabbi Sasso earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Temple University, Philadelphia, and was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 1974. He also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and did doctoral studies at Temple University and at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he obtained the Doctor of Ministry degree, and has served as Affiliate Professor of Jewish Studies for over three decades. Rabbi Sasso is the recipient of Doctor of Divinity degrees, Honoris Causa, from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Philadelphia, PA), the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York, NY), and Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis, IN).

Rabbi Sasso is a sought-out speaker and a prolific author of popular and learned articles and essays for various newspapers, journals, and academic publications. He has served on numerous interfaith, civic and community boards and agencies. He is Past President of the Indianapolis Board of Rabbis and of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. A Past-President of the Indiana Interreligious Commission on Human Equality, he was Co-Chairman of the Race Relations Leadership Network. Rabbi Sasso was Co-Chairman of the Citizens Complaint Working Group, a blue-ribbon committee appointed by Mayor Goldsmith to review and upgrade the Ordinance that regulates the Civilian Police Review Process. He has served on the Mayor's Community Crime Prevention Task Force, on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Center, and on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. Rabbi Sasso served on the Advisory Board of the Lake Family Institute for Faith and Giving of the IUPUI School of Philanthropy (the first of its kind in the country), the Indianapolis Immigrant Welcome Center, the United Way of Central Indiana , the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Public Safety Clergy Committee, and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. He has been a member of the BrebeufJesuit Preparatory School Board of Advisors and of the Mission and Education Committees.

Rabbi Sasso is the recipient of multiple honors and recognitions, including the Ira Eisenstein Award for Leadership and Service in the Rabbinate; Faith and Freedom Award of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; and the Community Service Award of the NAACP. He and his wife, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, were "Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year" for the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and were designated as "Hoosier Jewish Legends" by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. In 2022 they were named "Indiana Living Legends" by the Indiana Historical Society and were listed by the Indianapolis Business Journal among the most influential leaders in Indiana.

The Rabbis Sasso are the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history. They are the parents of Dr. David Sasso (Dr. Naomi Libby) and Dr. Debora (Dr. Bradley) Herold. They are the proud grandparents of Darwin, Ari, Raven, and Levi.

Rabbi Steve Stroiman (RRC '74)

Rabbi Steve Stroiman was ordained in 1974 from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from Temple University in 1977. He taught Jewish Studies at Akiba Hebrew Academy (coed, grades 6-12) in suburban Philadelphia for 34 years. Steve has been the facilitator of the Unstructured Synagogue Havurah, a group that has been meeting in each other's homes twice a month, for the past 53 years. He has also been the coordinator of Cresheim Village Neighbors, a vibrant neighborhood association in Mt. Airy, for the past 35 years. Steve and his family live in Mt. Airy.

2023 HONOREES

Michael Luckens was honored in May 2023.

Brusin, Rabbi David (RRC '74)

With his wife, Sandy, and his two children, Josh and Yoni, Rabbi David Brusin moved to Milwaukee in 1986 to take a position as Director of Jewish Studies at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, a position he held for seven and a half years.


In his first few years in Milwaukee, Rabbi David was asked, on numerous occasions, to speak to several Havurot, small study groups, about Reconstructionism. People liked what they heard and wanted more. Rabbi David encouraged them to attend services in Evanston, Illinois, at JRC, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation. Not long after, they asked him if he would help them create a Reconstructionist synagogue in Milwaukee. As they say, the rest is history. Four years later, in 1993, Rabbi David left the Day School and become Shir's first resident rabbi, a position he proudly held for twenty-one years until his retirement in 2014.


Rabbi David was in the first graduating class at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He also received an M.A. and an ABD in philosophy at Temple University. He taught at local colleges throughout his tenure at Shir Hadash and he continues to teach at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and at Ripon College.

Michael Luckens was honored in May 2023.

Perlmutter, Rabbi Saul (RRC '74)

Rabbi Saul Perlmutter has worked as a Hebrew school teacher, the Youth Director of Temple Beth Sholom in Elkins Park, PA (the synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), summer camp counselor, and Executive Director of Hillel at UMass Amherst. He also manufactured mattresses as a summer job and my be the only rabbi who knows how to make a mattress - a skill, he quips, that only comes in handy when services go on too long...

Saul's diverse educational training includes a BA in History from Brandeis University, a Master's degree in Religion from Temple University, and a Master of Social Work degree from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. His Rabbinical Ordination is from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He spent an undergraduate year studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a second year on sabbatical in Israel with his wife, Shoshana Zonderman, and their two children, Ariela and Noam.

Saul is an avid bicycler and you may see him biking to Sons of Zion from his home in Florence, MA . His other hobbies include vegetable gardening, swimming, hiking, and occasionally strumming the guitar. He is an environmental activist and a volunteer at various social service agencies.

Under his leadership, UMass Hillel became the first and only six-time winner of National Hillel's Haber Award for programs of outstanding quality for the Jewish campus community. He was voted Best Local Spiritual Leader in the only year that the Valley Advocate included that category in their annual reader's poll. Services that Saul leads include lively, interactive Torah discussions that engage our minds and participatory singing that lifts our spirits.

Sasso, Rabbi Sandy (RRC '74)

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was the first woman ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1974), and the first to serve a Conservative congregation together with her husband, Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso as the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history. Following 36 years of service to Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, Indiana, she is now its Senior Rabbi Emerita. She is the founder of the Religion, Spirituality and Arts Initiative at Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University at Indianapolis.

Sasso is active in the arts, civic and interfaith communities and has written and lectured on women, spirituality, and children's religious imagination. She received her B.A. Magna Cum Laude and M.A. from Temple University. She received a Doctor of Ministry from Christian Theological Seminary. She is the recipient of awards and honorary Doctorates from universities, theological seminaries, and civic institutions.

Sasso is the author of nationally acclaimed children's books, winning National Jewish Book and Indiana Authors Awards. She is a recipient of a Sagamore of the Wabash (by the Governor of Indiana), Heritage Keepers Award (Indiana State Museum), Spirit of the Prairie (Conner Prairie Museum), and Torchbearer Award (Indiana Commission of Women). She and Dennis C. Sasso were designated "Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year" by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and recognized as "Hoosier Jewish Legends" by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society.

Active in the civic, interfaith, and arts communities, she served as President of Gleaners Food Bank and Chair of the Spirit and Place Festival, a statewide festival of the arts, humanities, and religion. She currently serves on the boards of Indiana Humanities, Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, and Advisory Board of Indiana University at Indianapolis. In 2016 she co-founded Women4Change Indiana, a statewide organization of 5000 focused on educating, equipping, and mobilizing Hoosiers to create positive change for women.

Rabbi Sasso and her husband are the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history. In 2022 they were named "Indiana Living Legends" by the Indiana Historical Society and were listed by the Indianapolis Business Journal among the most influential leaders in Indiana. They are the parents of Dr. David A. Sasso (Dr. Naomi Libby) and Dr. Debora S. Herold (Dr. Bradley). They are the proud grandparents of Darwin, Ari, Levi, and Raven.

Sasso, Rabbi Dennis (RRC '74)

Rabbi Dennis Sasso is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, where he served as Senior Rabbi since 1977, when he and Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso became spiritual leaders of the congregation. He was born and raised in Panama, a descendant of Sephardic Jews that settled in the Caribbean (Curaçao and St. Thomas) in the 17th – 18thcenturies.

Rabbi Sasso earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Temple University, Philadelphia, and was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 1974. He also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and did doctoral studies at Temple University and at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he obtained the Doctor of Ministry degree, and has served as Affiliate Professor of Jewish Studies for over three decades. Rabbi Sasso is the recipient of Doctor of Divinity degrees, Honoris Causa, from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Philadelphia, PA), the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York, NY), and Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis, IN).

Rabbi Sasso is a sought-out speaker and a prolific author of popular and learned articles and essays for various newspapers, journals, and academic publications. He has served on numerous interfaith, civic and community boards and agencies. He is Past President of the Indianapolis Board of Rabbis and of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. A Past-President of the Indiana Interreligious Commission on Human Equality, he was Co-Chairman of the Race Relations Leadership Network. Rabbi Sasso was Co-Chairman of the Citizens Complaint Working Group, a blue-ribbon committee appointed by Mayor Goldsmith to review and upgrade the Ordinance that regulates the Civilian Police Review Process. He has served on the Mayor's Community Crime Prevention Task Force, on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Center, and on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. Rabbi Sasso served on the Advisory Board of the Lake Family Institute for Faith and Giving of the IUPUI School of Philanthropy (the first of its kind in the country), the Indianapolis Immigrant Welcome Center, the United Way of Central Indiana , the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Public Safety Clergy Committee, and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. He has been a member of the BrebeufJesuit Preparatory School Board of Advisors and of the Mission and Education Committees.

Rabbi Sasso is the recipient of multiple honors and recognitions, including the Ira Eisenstein Award for Leadership and Service in the Rabbinate; Faith and Freedom Award of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; and the Community Service Award of the NAACP. He and his wife, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, were "Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year" for the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and were designated as "Hoosier Jewish Legends" by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. In 2022 they were named "Indiana Living Legends" by the Indiana Historical Society and were listed by the Indianapolis Business Journal among the most influential leaders in Indiana.

The Rabbis Sasso are the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history. They are the parents of Dr. David Sasso (Dr. Naomi Libby) and Dr. Debora (Dr. Bradley) Herold. They are the proud grandparents of Darwin, Ari, Raven, and Levi.

Stroiman, Rabbi Steve (RRC '74)

Rabbi Steve Stroiman was ordained in 1974 from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from Temple University in 1977. He taught Jewish Studies at Akiba Hebrew Academy (coed, grades 6-12) in suburban Philadelphia for 34 years. Steve has been the facilitator of the Unstructured Synagogue Havurah, a group that has been meeting in each other's homes twice a month, for the past 53 years. He has also been the coordinator of Cresheim Village Neighbors, a vibrant neighborhood association in Mt. Airy, for the past 35 years. Steve and his family live in Mt. Airy.

"Torat Yovael: Yet Fruitful into Later Years" Artist's Statement

Meirah IliinskyWhen Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Chief Executive Officer of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, asked if I would paint a commemoration for the first of our Reconstructionist rabbis to have served for 50 years, my first question was, what is the verse? She chose  Psalm 92:15, a verse pregnant with ample and glorious imagery. I imagined a mature tree, filled with the whole ecology of what one tree can create: a home for creatures who come for nourishment, who fertilize the tree, and carry off its seeds to be planted elsewhere. This seemed to me to be a fitting metaphor for mature rabbis, whose students have have been mutual learners, and who go on to plant seeds elsewhere. Pomegranate seeds have been likened in our tradition to students, so I made the tree a Pomegranate.

I placed the golden pomegranates in the configuration of the Ten Sephirot. Noah’s dove of peace, with her olive branch rests ascendant. The raven of our rabbinic pragmatics seeks food from the pomegranate. The hoopoe, now the national bird of Israel, brings its mate and its young morsels to eat. Once it won a competition in wisdom with King Solomon. The owl, representing wisdom, lands, and comes ever closer. A second owl I borrowed from another of my paintings, which a viewer called, “the owl of wisdom is in the scar of the tree.” Yes, our lives have also brought scars, hopefully transformed into wisdom.

We needed an image of the Torah, so I made it growing out of the tree’s roots. The roots, as Ps 92 reminds us, are planted in the “House of Adonai.” But what could the Torah be saying? Obviously, that it is a year of Jubilee… that will be holy to us. The fig and the grapevine are the added lushness of many years of service, and help include two more of the Seven Species, making a total of four. The upper corners (not shown in this photo, taken before the painting was finished) trumpet the year of the Jubilee.

It has been an honor and a delight to develop this painting for my colleagues.

Blessed are you, who busy yourselves with the needs of the community.

Torat Yovel Art