Noah Golinkin, a rabbi, author and rationally known educator who had worked for years in the Washington area, in returning from Tennessee to lead the Temple Beth Shalom established four years ago in Columbia, Md.
Golinkin left his area in 1970 after serving five years as head of the Board of Jewish Education of Greater Washington. Since then, he has headed a conservative congregation in Knoxville.
"I like to be close to the center of things," said Golinkin, 60, in a telephone interview from Knoxville. "This is physically a very beautiful area. I have a fine congregation, which I will miss. I have been happy here."
"But, I like to pioneer things. I pioneered in Arlington (at the Arlington-Fairfax Jewish Center from 1950 to 1965) by building a large from a small Jewish community. Now, I want to pioneer in Columbia. They are good people. I want to shape their destiny," he said.
"Some of the people I knew in my years in Washington as children are now involved in the Columbia congregation. I like that sense of contunity," he said.
Temple Beth Shalom, which started with five families four year ago, now includes more than 100 families.
Golinkin gained national attention in 1968 when 1,100 adults completed a 10-week course he developed here to help those not trained in Hebrew learn more from the conservative Sabbath service, which is entirely in Hebrew. Now, he says, the concept has proved successful enough to become a nationwide program.
The National Federation of Jewish Men's Club of America adopted promotion of the course as its 1978 project, he said.
While in Knoxville, he wrote a textbook for the national phase of a program called "Shalom Alaychem," after a well known Sabbath hymn.
"That hymn is used as a launching pad for the study of Hebrew. In songs and prayers, it is not the understanding that is so important but the athomeness in the text," he said.
"So, the present attack on 'Hebrew illiteracy' among American Jews is not geared at acquiring conversational ability, but geared at reading fluency. The true meanings come later, after repeated readings at the Friday services," he said.
Golinkin is scheduled to conduct his first service Friday, Feb. 3 at Temple Beth Shalom, 5885 Robert Oliver Pl., Columbia.