Congregation Agudath Achim was founded at the turn of the 20th century as an Orthodox synagogue. We have grown and flourished in three buildings during the decades.The first was in the Downtown area, the second was on Line Avenue, and now we are located in the southeast corner of Shreveport. The transition to Conservative Judaism was gradual after World War II, and for many years we were affiliated with United Synagogue of America.
For the last few decades we have been fully egalitarian, and our religious services have been quite traditional. During Friday evenings and on the High Holy Days there are many English responsive readings, usually led by congregants. On Shabbat mornings and on Festivals our worship is mostly in Hebrew, with a careful mixture of traditional chants and congregational melodies. On Shabbat we chant the Triennial Cycle of Torah readings, and our B'nei Mitzvah students usually chant a large portion of our service on their special day.
Over the decades, this synagogue has implemented a huge number of innovative programs, from social activities to youth and children's programs to educational programs for adults and students of all ages. Recent innovations include a volunteer choir for the High Holy Days, an English Purim play, the Jewish community youth theater productions with our students as cast members, a one-week Jewish Arts Day Camp in the summer, a biweekly program of Adult Education, Adult B'nai Mitzvah training, and online education for those choosing to become members of the Jewish People.
Rabbi Sydni is a recent Shreveport transplant from Los Angeles, California. Previously, she has served as a spiritual leader and teacher at Jewish organizations such as Ohr Shalom Synagogue (San Diego, California), IKAR (Los Angeles), and B’nai B’rith Camp (Neotsu, Oregon). Rabbi Sydni earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Swarthmore College and received her ordination and Master of Arts in Rabbinic Studies from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Between degrees, she spent two years engaging in intensive exploration of Jewish text at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Sydni especially enjoys teaching, learning, reading, writing, and chatting about Jewish approaches to self care, the status of women in Jewish law, and Biblical notions of love of God. When she is not at Agudath Achim, you may find her practicing yoga, playing piano, petting dogs, or exploring a farmers’ market. You may also find her spending time with her husband and best friend, Rabbi Feivel.
I am a Shreveport native who has lived here since my beginning. I am a graduate of C. E. Byrd High School, and LSU-S with a degree in business and communications. A chunk of my program was at Loyola in New Orleans and LSU in Baton Rouge. I am semi-retired from my wholesale jewelry business and do some consulting, antique and estate work and appraising. The rest of my time is engaged with some travel, my hobby (fishing), my presidency of Agudath Achim, and my grandchildren (but not in that order). My cell phone, land line and email address are all available and I welcome any questions and comments regarding any and all of the above.