Rabbi Carl Choper
Rabbi Carl Choper, founding director of The Religion and Society Center, and President of The Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania, came to Central Pennsylvania in 1990 as the Rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Mechanicsburg. After 16 years in that position, Rabbi Choper sought to find a way to be a Rabbi in the larger community, rather than focusing on congregational work. Motivated in part by an awareness of his own family’s experience in the Holocaust, Rabbi Choper built on over two decades of personal experience in interfaith dialogue and study to encourage deeper relationships between the various faith communities of our society. In the last five years, through workings with the Religion and Society Center and The Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania, Rabbi Choper has overseen the coming together of hundreds of individuals of all faiths, in an effort to examine how each of us can be grounded in our own faith traditions while also being appreciative of people of other traditions and faiths. Projects have included sustained Jewish-Christian dialogue, an interfaith coalition to address issues of climate change, and programs on various Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and other religious traditions that exist in Central Pennsylvania. He has also been involved in organizing interfaith gatherings to commemorate the events of September 11, celebrated being part of a multi-faith society, protecting religious liberty and protesting assaults on human dignity.
While helping to create these opportunities, Rabbi Choper has also served as the Rabbi of the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg, and as a prison chaplain and hospice chaplain.
This past November 19th, Rabbi Choper gave the opening address for the 154th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s famous “Gettysburg Address” in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.
Originally from Greenbelt, Maryland, outside of Washington DC, Rabbi Choper has a B.A. in Urban Studies (1984), an M.A. in American Studies (1986) from the University of Maryland, and Rabbinic Ordination and an M.A. in Hebrew Letters (1990) from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College near Philadelphia. Common to all of those studies is an abiding interest in and concern for the nature of community in contemporary life. He is a member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, and part of the fellowship (Hevraya) of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. He is brother to Brian Choper, professional touring drummer and founder of The Mulberry Music Group, home of the Klezmer band, Klezmer Voices.