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At Central Synagogue

Introducing our new Associate Rabbi, Stephanie Kolin

Posted January 13, 2015

Introducing our new Associate Rabbi, Stephanie Kolin

We are delighted to share some exciting news with you to start off 2015.

We are pleased to announce that Rabbi Stephanie Kolin will join Central Synagogue as an Associate Rabbi, effective July 1, 2015, working alongside Rabbi Buchdahl, Cantor Glazman, Cantor Cadrain, Rabbi Lorge, and Rabbi Salth.

Rabbi Kolin is well known and respected across the Jewish community. She was named as a “Game Changer” by the Los Angeles Jewish Journal this year, one of Newsweek’s “Rabbis to Watch” in 2013, and one of the Forward’s “America’s Influential Women Rabbis” in 2010. Since 2010, she has been Co-Director for the Reform Movement’s Just Congregations initiative, which strives to enable our communities “to act powerfully together to create the change we want to see in the world.” Prior to this role at the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Kolin was Associate Rabbi from 2006–2010 at Temple Israel in Boston.

During the process of getting to know Rabbi Kolin, our clergy team and lay and professional leaders were extremely impressed by her intelligence, depth, character, dynamic bimah presence, and passion for Reform Judaism. We came away smitten by her infectious warmth and exuberance; energy, vibrancy and enthusiasm; strong belief in building individual relationships with and among congregants; and experience and zeal for social justice, alongside her demonstrated commitment to education and pastoral care. Rabbi Kolin’s unique ability to help communities translate vision into action will bring a strategic new dimension to our clergy team and drive us forward.

As Co-Director of Just Congregations, Rabbi Kolin worked with individual congregations throughout California and the country to enable communities to organize themselves to address and rectify injustices that matter to them and to their neighbors outside of their congregation, across lines of faith, race and socio-economic groupings. Rabbi Kolin worked with Reform congregations to place people, relationship building, and leadership development at the center of their congregations, creating spaces for meaningful Jewish engagement. She has also acted as lead organizer and a founder of Reform CA, the first ever campaign of the California Reform congregations to act together on issues of common concern. Alongside her primary rabbinic and community organizing responsibilities, she has been an adjunct professor at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, and a member of the faculty at the Wexner Foundation. We are very pleased to be bringing Rabbi Kolin back to her home town of New York City, and to the East Coast where she went to college at Brandeis University, before pursuing her rabbinic ordination at the New York City campus of Hebrew Union College.

We want to thank the members of our search committee—Seth Berger, Marshall Brozost, Jeremy Cohen, Sharon Friedberg, Jeffrey Goldstein, Freeman Shore, Shonni Silverberg, and Tali Farhadian Weinstein—for their work in identifying and selecting Rabbi Kolin. We also want to express our gratitude at this time to Rabbi Andy Straus, our Interim Rabbi, who has been helping us immensely this year. Rabbi Straus will continue to be with us until the end of June, and we hope to share with you soon some more good news regarding his next opportunity.

We expect Rabbi Kolin and her wife, Jocelyn, to visit us informally in the spring ahead of her joining us in the summer. We hope many of you have the opportunity to meet her at services at that time.