Rabbi Sarah Leah Grafstein founded Ruach Hamidbar-Spirit of the Desert in 1989, and now she is ready to let Rabbi Alan Scott Bachman take the lead.
She announced at Rosh Hashanah services this year that she would transition to the role of rabbi emerita and Rabbi Bachman would take over and lead the congregation.
Rabbi Bachman has been an active member of the congregation since 1994 and has held roles at Ruach Hamidbar including, rabbinic intern and associate rabbi. He received his smicha on January 12, 2020, through Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
The rabbi is also a talented musician with the band Desert Wind, and is acclaimed internationally as one of the original innovators of what has recently come to be described as “world fusion” music, the cross-cultural blending of American and Middle Eastern dance music. He studied at Eastman School of Music while growing up in Rochester, New York.
His wife, Andalin, performs with him and is the recipient of many prestigious awards. Her energetic and electrifying flute work is the synthesis of jazz, rock, classical, blues, new age, and exotic world music influences.
Rabbi Bachman previously worked as an assistant Attorney General for the State of Utah and then as a partner of the law firm Fetzer Simonsen Booth and Jenkins. He is involved in interfaith activities, including serving as chair of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, chair of the annual interfaith event at the Mormon Tabernacle, and current chair of the North American Interfaith Network.
He and Andalin have three married children and nine grandchildren.