By Rachel Gross Weinstein
For the next two years, Rabbi William Gershon will serve as president of the Rabbinical Assembly. He hopes to bring his years of experience as a rabbi and passion for Judaism to the forefront to make an impact.
Gershon, the senior rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel, will be installed at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 13 in the Aaron Family Main Sanctuary at the synagogue, located at 9401 Douglas Ave. in Dallas. It will be followed by a dessert reception sponsored by the Shearith Israel Sisterhood.
The Rabbinical Assembly is the membership organization for Conservative rabbis and has about 1,700 members. Gershon has had other leadership roles with the Rabbinical Assembly in the past and said this is a great honor for him.
“This is a real highlight for my career and my life’s work,” he said. “The Conservative movement and its future is something I believe in very deeply and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve my fellow colleagues. I hope to [have an effect] not only on the Conservative movement, but the American Jewish community and the world.”
Gershon is the first rabbi from Dallas to become the Rabbinical Assembly’s president. In addition to continuing his duties at Shearith Israel, Gershon’s role involves traveling and representing the Conservative movement, having a seat at tables with board members from different organizations and more.
His goals are to help strengthen the Rabbinical Assembly from an organizational, financial and strategic perspective; uniting the Conservative movement; working closely with others to help achieve that; and reaching out to his colleagues and rabbis to make sure the Rabbinical Assembly is assisting them at the highest level.
“As the role of the rabbi has changed in American Jewish life, the Rabbinical Assembly is especially poised to make a contribution to serving them,” Gershon said. “I think of this as a wonderful opportunity for growth, creativity and to tap into the immense talents of the Conservative rabbinate. It’s my plan to really tap into that.”
Gershon is a national leader and recognized among the Conservative movement, and that’s what makes him perfect for this job, said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly.
He is a member of the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the AIPAC National Council. Locally, he also serves on the boards of Ann and Nate Levine Academy and the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association.
Schonfeld said Gershon is an exciting, dynamic rabbi who embraces change, which is important as the Jewish community today is in a constant state of evolution.
“We feel lucky to have Rabbi Gershon as our incoming president,” she said. “He is established in national leadership on a number of importance issues like education and outreach to the younger generation. He has a national reputation and is known for his support of Israel, while also being a forward thinker and a strong, effective leader. His leadership by example in Dallas of creating such a vibrant community is one that will bring a lot of strength and ideas to his colleagues around the world.”
Added Gershon: “I am very grateful to Congregation Shearith Israel for allowing me the opportunity to serve the movement, the American Jewish community and worldwide Jewry with this position.”
There is no charge to attend the installation, but registration is required. To register, call Janice Leventhal at 214-361-6606 or visit www.shearith.org.
Rabbinical Assembly annual convention
The Rabbinical Assembly’s annual convention will take place in Dallas at the Park Cities Hilton May 12-15. It will begin with an opening plenary with Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly; JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen; Rabbi Bradley Artson of American Jewish University; and Steven Wernick, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Other events on the agenda include Rabbi William Gershon’s installation as president of the Rabbinical Assembly, speakers, learning opportunities and more.
For more information, visit www.rabbinicalassembly.org/node/15471.