Rabbi David J. Gelfand Unanimously Selected as Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel of the City of New York

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Gelfand welcomed as only the fifth rabbi in the congregation’s 135-year history, as Temple celebrates day of “blessings and beginnings.”

The Board of Trustees of Temple Israel of The City of New York announced that Rabbi David J. Gelfand will join the congregation as its new Senior Rabbi, effective July 1, 2006. The announcement was made after a meeting of the congregation membership at which Rabbi Gelfand’s nomination for the position was unanimously approved.

Temple Israel’s President, Beth Lee, announced the selection, stating, “We are delighted that Rabbi Gelfand will become our new Senior Rabbi and the spiritual leader of our congregation. He is a nationally recognized Jewish figure known for his inspirational leadership style and a singular capacity to meet the needs of a diverse temple community such as ours.”

Ms. Lee added, “We could not be more enthusiastic that Rabbi Gelfand will join us as only the fifth rabbi in our congregation’s distinguished 135 year history. He was selected by our membership after an exhaustive search and with the unanimous recommendation of our Board of Trustees. He shares our vision for the future and our determination to build on the strong heritage of our congregation. “

Rabbi Gelfand, a gifted teacher, caring pastor and eloquent preacher, comes to Temple Israel after having served for nine years as Senior Rabbi of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in East Hampton, New York. There he created an innovative model for synagogue life in the 21st century, based on pluralism, inclusiveness, outreach, excellence in education for all ages, and fostered a rich spiritual life for all congregants. He has also distinguished himself as a leader and innovator at synagogues in New Jersey and Ohio. He began his career at Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, New York.

Rabbi Gelfand said, “I could not be more pleased and grateful for the opportunity to join this revered congregation as its spiritual leader.” He continued, “For more than 135 years, Temple Israel of the City of New York has been a vibrant, nurturing center of Jewish education, worship and communal life in the heart of Manhattan.” “I look forward to building on this impressive tradition and retaining many time-honored practices and the warm spirit of the synagogue, while forging new directions in the areas of spirituality, as well as educational, cultural, outreach and social justice activities.”

Gelfand concluded, “Today is a day of blessings and beginnings, for me and for this wonderful congregation that is filled to overflowing with history and potential.”

About Temple Israel of the City of New York

Founded in 1870, Temple Israel is a Reform Jewish Synagogue which is at the forefront of preserving the integrity and continuity of the Jewish tradition even as it addresses the challenges of the next generation. Located on East 75th Street near Park Avenue, Temple Israel serves a diverse community by fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness, communal involvement and active learning. The Temple’s Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC), Religious School and Adult Education programs are renowned, as are its religious, community outreach and social activities.

About David J. Gelfand

On July 1, 2006, Rabbi David J. Gelfand will become the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel of the City of New York. He brings nearly thirty years as a dynamic spiritual leader, an outspoken voice for social conscience and human rights, and a passionate advocate for outreach and inclusion within and beyond the Jewish Community, as well as vision as a creative Jewish educator and community builder. Among other accomplishments, Rabbi Gelfand serves on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Board of Governors and on its President’s Rabbinic Counsel. For twelve years he has been an officer of The Interfaith Alliance, which he helped found, and currently serves as TIA’s National Vice President. He also serves on the International and North American Boards of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, co-chairs its Rabbinic Cabinet, and was recognized with the WUPJ's International Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Pursuit of Justice. He chairs the Committee on World Jewry of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and sits on the Union for Reform Judaism’s Argentina Task Force. Rabbi Gelfand earned an A.B. from Franklin and Marshall College, received ordination as a rabbi from the HUC-JIR, Cincinnati, received a Doctor of Divinity from HUC-JIR, and did post-graduate studies in Princeton, Jerusalem and Toronto. Rabbi Gelfand and his wife, Kathy, have four grown children. They will reside in Manhattan.


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Michael Frenkel