What is the sum of 30 years as a rabbi? Wisdom but more work to be done.

Rabbi Robert Waxman holding his bar mitzvah portrait from 50 years ago.

Rabbi Robert Waxman holding his bar mitzvah portrait from 50 years ago.

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Amanda.Greene@wilmingtonfavs.com

As two female high school graduates lead the Friday night special Shabbat service at B’nai Israel Synagogue last month, Rabbi Robert Waxman sat behind them singing along in Hebrew.

When the ladies were unsure of the words and their voices faded, Waxman sang a bit louder, smiling and guiding them through the stories and prayers of their faith.

For 30 years, Waxman has been the spiritual leader of Wilmington’s conservative Jewish congregation, guiding generations of bar and bat mitzvah students, officiating funerals and standing for justice in the wider community.

His congregation is honoring Waxman all weekend with an 8 p.m. Shabbat service Friday (June 8), a 9 a.m. Haftorah service, or readings of the words of the prophets, on Saturday (June 9), both at the synagogue, 2601 Chestnut St.  An invitation only dinner dance will be at Landfall Country Club on Sunday (June 10).   

This Saturday is also the 50th anniversary of Waxman’s own bar mitvah. The secret many people don’t know about Wilmington’s longest serving rabbi is his mother wanted him to become a cantor.

“I knew I could sing in high school, and I was