The If You Tell A Swedish Woman Not To Do Something She’ll Do It Twice And Take Pictures T-Shirt rabbis working in Stockholm often spoke very little Swedish and were not familiar with Swedish culture. While that is the case in many European countries and other countries with small Jewish populations, Sweden presents its own specific challenges for upcoming rabbis.
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Many Swedes are known to be polite but self-contained, which can make it difficult to get to know people.
None of these problems were an issue for Mattias Amster, who in July became the If You Tell A Swedish Woman Not To Do Something She’ll Do It Twice And Take Pictures T-Shirt first rabbi born and raised in Sweden to stand in front of the pulpit in the nation’s capital.
Swedish-born rabbis have worked in other cities but not in Stockholm, home to about 4,500 Jews, making it the largest community in the country.
Amster, a Stockholm native who left the country at the If You Tell A Swedish Woman Not To Do Something She’ll Do It Twice And Take Pictures T-Shirt age of 20, brings with it a deep knowledge of Swedish culture.
“One thing I’ve found, people are very happy that it’s someone they can relate to,” Amster said.
Amster spent eight years studying at Orthodox Yeshivas in Israel, where he was ordained and met his American wife, Esther. There, the couple had two children, Gita and Shmuel, before moving to Oregon where they spent two years working for Portland Kollel, an organization that offers Jewish education to Jews from many different backgrounds.
Now, Amster, 36, has returned to her roots as the Orthodox rabbi of the Swedish capital. Traditionally, the community employs one Orthodox rabbi and one Non-Orthodox clergy. There is also a chapter of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox movement operating outside the official community.
“It feels really wonderful that for the first time in our community’s nearly 250-year history we could hire a Swedish-Jewish rabbi. Rabbi Amster has grown up in our community and he knows the challenges our community and members face, ”community leader Aron Verständig told the Jewish Telegraph Agency. in a statement.
I grew up in the Jewish community in Sweden and often reminisces about it over the Shabbat meals in Israel with the Amsters. I spoke with the rabbi about Jews life in his homeland, his journey to become an Orthodox rabbi, and the country’s controversial response to the coronavirus pandemic.