Rabbi Peter Rubinstein Resigns From Central Synagogue

Ends 23-Year Stint as Head of Reform Institution

By Paul Berger

Published March 13, 2013.
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The hunt is on for a rabbi to lead one of the Reform movement’s most prominent congregations.

Peter Rubinstein
central synagogue
Peter Rubinstein

Rabbi Peter Rubinstein informed congregants of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue that he will step down from his post as senior rabbi at the end of June, 2014.

“What will be a 23-year season of my rabbinate at Central Synagogue has been exquisite and poignant,” Rubinstein wrote in an email circulated among congregants on March 13.

Rubinstein added: “But for me personally, it is now an occasion for another chapter. Though I have no defined plan, I believe that there is more for me to do in service of the Jewish community and in supporting the inspiring possibilities of Jewish life.”

In addition to leading one of the wealthiest congregations in New York, Rubinstein has also been heavily involved in pushing for changes within the Reform movement. Rubinstein was a central figure in the Rabbinic Vision Initiative, a group of Reform rabbis, from some of the country’s leading congregations, that seeks to mold the direction of the Union for Reform Judaism.

The Central Synagogue’s president, David Edelson, said his board would begin the process of looking for a replacement for Rubinstein.

Edelson said the synagogue’s senior cantor, Angela Buchdahl, has already expressed interest in taking over as senior rabbi.

“I am confident that our Board of Trustees will seriously consider Cantor Buchdahl for this position,” Edelson said in a statement. “What is most important now is for this Board-led process to run its course.”


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