Atlanta Rabbi Peter Berg Earns a Distinguished Place on Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Top 50 Rabbi List

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For the seventh year in a row influential Jewish leaders, including Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corporation America, Gary Ginsberg, Executive VP of Timer Warner Inc., and Abby Pogrebin, author and former ’60 Minutes’ producer, assembled their list of America’s top 50 Rabbis for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, this time adding Senior Rabbi Peter S. Berg of The Temple in Atlanta.

“I am honored to serve as a rabbi of The Temple, a sacred community and a thought leader within Jewish circles, and to collaborate with business, faith, and government leaders from all over the state.” Senior Rabbi Peter Berg

Peter S. Berg, Senior Rabbi of The Temple, Atlanta’s first and largest synagogue, holds a place in history on the prestigious 2013 list of America’s 50 most influential rabbis. As a spiritual leader of over 1500 Jewish families, and a pioneer of social causes such as the Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative and the Open Jewish Project for young adult Jews, he now gains much deserved recognition in the Jewish community on a national scale, and selection to the top 50 list.    

Rabbi Berg is moving The Temple in an exciting direction, building relationships beyond the walls of his synagogue. He reaches out to neighboring religious institutions, such as the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, to nurture meaningful partnerships. He cultivates rapport with community influencers, including Atlanta’s mayor and key elected officials. He participates as an active member of several religious organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Family and Career Services, AIPAC, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and the Atlanta Rabbinical Association. And Berg serves on many other communal and advisory boards, achieving all of this as one of the nation’s youngest senior rabbis of a major congregation. Making the Top 50 Rabbi List is an honor he accepts with deep humility.

“It is a privilege to be recognized by Newsweek and The Daily Beast,” said Rabbi Berg. “But I think every rabbi here in Atlanta should be on this list. It is a huge award for the Jewish community of Atlanta, which deserves special recognition not only for its enormous commitment to building a vibrant Judaism in the south, but also for being a visionary laboratory for the future.”

Billy Bauman, President, The Temple Board of Trustees, lauds Rabbi Berg’s dedication to his congregation and the greater community. “As we approach our 150th anniversary at The Temple, we are so fortunate to have Rabbi Peter Berg as only our fifth Senior Rabbi,” said Mr. Bauman. “Rabbi Berg brings to our congregation the sensitivity, spirituality, leadership, energy and commitment to our faith that very few could deliver. In five short years he has endeared all that have met him with his dedication to tikkun olam (world repair), to our Atlanta community, our Congregation, and our Reform Movement.”

Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, Rabbi Emeritus, holds Peter Berg’s character in high esteem. “Rabbi Berg's every act reflects the essence of our Jewish faith and heritage. His pure soul, his integrity, his good heart, his sincerity, and his concern for the well-being of all, bring blessing to every life he touches.”

Those who select the top 50 rabbis admit their choices are subjective, but they do follow a consistent list of criteria. “In crafting this list, we take into consideration a rabbi’s public profile and constituency size and the magnitude with which their ideas are shaping the Jewish landscape,” wrote Gabrielle Birkner, author of the 2013 list. Rabbi Berg’s extensive resume, including his creation of the first multi-staff department team designed to foster outreach and relational engagement, and his involvement in several national vision groups defining the sustainable and meaningful future of Judaism, reflects a life of servitude and influence that more than meets the Newsweek and Daily Beast’s criteria.

About Rabbi Peter Berg:
Prior to his current position at The Temple, Peter Berg served as rabbi at Temple Beth Or in Washington Township, NJ, associate rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX, rabbinic intern at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY, and youth director at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, VA. Additionally Rabbi Berg served for three summers as the education director at URJ Camp Harlam in the Poconos.

Rabbi Berg recently completed his term as Chair of the national Program Committee for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and now serves on the editorial committee to create a new national prayer book for the high holy days. He also serves on the Board of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, The Federation of Greater Atlanta, and the Jewish Family and Career Services. Rabbi Berg holds an undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Education and Human Development, and an M.A. in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (New York and Jerusalem) where he was a Steinhardt Fellow. Additionally, he is certificated in Chemical Dependency and Spiritual Counseling, and he is a trained Disaster, Fire, and Police Chaplain. In 2009 he was inducted into the College of Preachers at Morehouse College, and became a member of the 2013 Leadership Atlanta class. Rabbi Berg is a native of Ocean Township, NJ and currently resides in Atlanta with his wife Karen, a teacher and tutor, and their three children.

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