BernardKlineWiesenfeldPictured left to right are Monmouth Reform Temple’s new Rabbi Marc Kline (center) with his wife Lori Bernard and the MRT President Jay Wiesenfeld of Lincroft. 

Press release from Monmouth Reform Temple

After a year-long search, the Monmouth Reform Temple selected Rabbi Marc Kline to lead the Tinton Falls congregation. Rabbi Kline, who most recently served as the Rabbi at Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, Kentucky, began his tenure at MRT on July 1. Rabbi Bob Ourach served as MRT’s interim spiritual leader for over a year during this search.

A native of Las Vegas, NV, the graduate of the University of Arkansas law school became re-immersed in his faith at a Reform Temple while working at a Little Rock law firm. He began to take on a more involved role in the congregation and was encouraged to become, what he terms, “a second career rabbi.”

Rabbi Kline graduated from the Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion in 1994 with a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters, and was ordained as a Rabbi the following year. His first major service in a Jewish Congregation brought him to South Carolina, where he forged a close alliance with interfaith clergy and even co-led the 2000 march on the South Carolina Capital to remove the controversial Confederate flag.

The event was described as the largest march on a Southern capital (with over 40,000 people) since the Civil Rights era. He states of that experience, “I remain deeply indebted to the ministers who became my dear friends and teachers. They taught me what it meant to serve a congregation and a community in a meaningful and relevant way.”

AurachKlineCrissoldMRT interim Rabbi Bob Aurach, Rabbi Marc Kline and Cantor Gabrielle Clissold are pictured at an MRT picnic in June, when Rabbi Kline was first introduced to the reform temple congregation.

He brought that spirit of interfaith cooperation to his 11-year service at Temple Adath. Tom Eblen of the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote about Rabbi Kline’s legacy, “Kline will be remembered in Lexington for his tireless work to bridge gaps of religion race and culture. He chaired the city’s Human Rights commission, served on civic organization boards and taught pastoral care to Christian ministerial students at Lexington Theological Seminary.”

Rabbi Kline’s distinguished career includes teaching Jewish liturgy, and history, ethics and philosophy courses in high schools, colleges and universities in Kentucky, South Carolina and Ohio. He serves on the Board of the Association of Reform Zionists in New York City, working on behalf of The State of Israel issues. Kline has served on and chaired hospital chaplaincy advisory boards, and co-created a volunteer police chaplaincy team for the Lexington Police Department. He has also consulted with many organizations on diversity training, leadership development, organizational process and vision training. His clients included churches, school districts, health departments, The YMCA and the Girl Scouts of America. He has been recognized multiple times for his excellence in community service.

“We are very fortunate to have Rabbi Kline join MRT at this time,” states MRT President Jay Wiesenfeld, adding, “His rabbinate has been involved in the creation of relationships and community building within the congregation and beyond. He has an excellent depth of knowledge of Jewish history and thought, and strongly understands the needs of the Jewish community. Additionally, he is passionate in his role as a teacher within the congregation. We are very excited to welcome Rabbi Kline and his family.”

Rabbi Kline sees his new ministry as a new challenge and the beginning of new life in New Jersey with his wife Lori Bernard and youngest daughter Rachel. Rabbi Kline lost his first wife after many years of marriage, and feels blessed to have found Lori. He is now the patriarch of a beautiful blended family of eight (including a new son-in-law), mostly adult children, whose ages range from 14 to 30.

He explains, “I want us to grow in spirit and understanding,” he says of the Temple community. “We are each other’s family, and we need to commit ourselves to caring for each other, challenging each other, and growing each other. If we are successful, then we ensure the vibrancy of Torah for the next generations to come. I am blessed every day, and thankful to be blessed … here.”