Rabbi Allan Finkel explores recent changes in the field of addictions. The expanded definition of addictions goes beyond substance-based addictions to include behavioural addictions. There is new research on the causes of addiction, especially childhood trauma. He will also introduce some of the powerful Jewish voices that challenge traditional Jewish attitudes to addiction and offer new uniquely Jewish spiritual approaches. Speaking from experience, Rabbi Finkel says, “As a recovering addict—well before my rabbinical career at Temple Shalom—I have come to understand and lived the huge ‘denial’ issues in the Jewish community that we will explore together.”
Rabbi Finkel was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where his parents had immigrated from Eastern Europe. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Raised in the Orthodox tradition, he moved through Conservative Judaism to find his ‘spiritual home’ in his thirties in the Reform movement. His diverse background includes a law degree and an MBA. He is the father of three children. Rabbi Finkel’s career path and extensive volunteer activities have all embodied the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world.
Rabbi Finkel answered the call to the rabbinate later in life and is currently the spiritual leader at Temple Shalom, Winnipeg’s Reform Jewish congregation. He has a passion for creative and innovative adaptations of Judaism in our modern and changing times including the engagement and inclusion of interfaith families. Rabbi Allan is also an outspoken advocate for interfaith engagement and especially for building strong bridges and partnerships across all denominations within the Jewish community. He currently chairs the Winnipeg Council of Rabbis.