The Jewish Wellness Center of North Jersey was established in the summer of 2012 by Rabbi Rex D. Perlmeter to fulfill the mission of working with institutions and individuals in pursuit of sh’leimut – an experience of wholeness grounded in the belief that wellness can best be achieved when addressed holistically in the four realms of human experience – the physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual – as framed by the teachings of Jewish tradition. Through classes, services and consultations, we strive to embody and cultivate practices in each of the four for the sake of transforming lives and, through those lives, communities and worlds.
Rabbi Rex D. Perlmeter was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985, after graduating from Princeton University in 1980, with a degree in Comparative Literature. He served from 1985 – 1996 as rabbi at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, during the last seven years of which he was Senior Rabbi. He went on to serve as spiritual leader of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation from 1996 to 2008. This flagship Reform congregation was in a significant moment of institutional transition, within which Rabbi Perlmeter brought about a sense of cohesion and new enthusiasm. The vision driving his pulpit rabbinate was one of creating multiple options for people to connect effectively with their Jewish identity, and to encourage their fulfillment of that identity in conscientiously chosen acts of mitzvoth.
Throughout his years in the pulpit, Rabbi Perlmeter could often be found raising an impassioned voice for issues of social justice. Upon being named Rabbi Emeritus at BHC in June, 2008, Rabbi Perlmeter moved with his wife Rabbi Rachel Hertzman and family to New Jersey where he began service to the Union for Reform Judaism. As that organization underwent radical changes and transformation, Rabbi Perlmeter served in a number of significant managerial and consulting capacities, among which was the beginning of his work as a Specialist for Worship and Spirituality.
In the summer of 2012, Rabbi Perlmeter founded the Jewish Wellness Center of North Jersey, a holistic program designed to help synagogues and individuals strive for wholeness in body, heart, mind and soul. At the end of 2012, he chose to leave the URJ in order to devote himself full-time to this new and exciting rabbinate. In addition to launching the Center, Rabbi Perlmeter continues to serve in a consultant and scholar-in-residence capacity to congregations and is a co-author of the curriculum based on Making Prayer Real with author Rabbi Mike Comins. In addition to his experience as a pastoral caregiver, he completed training as a Spiritual Director in 2014 and was awarded a Masters Degree in Social Work in the Spring of 2016 from the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Drawing upon his wealth of experience and training, he serves as Special Advisor for Member Care and Wellness to the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Among the offerings of the Center, Rabbi Perlmeter is a core provider of Jewish Mindfulness Teaching, Text Study Through a Spiritual Lens, Spiritual Direction and Consultation/Guest Scholar Visitation on Wellness and Spirituality, as well as Worship Transformation Through Meditation, Chant and Embodied Practice.