Rabbi Andy Bachman, a prominent figure in New York's Jewish community who has served as a Hillel director, pulpit rabbi and founder of a neighborhood Jewish organization, announced this week that he will next year leave his congregation and Jewish communal leadership altogether.
On a “transition” blog he posted on his personal website, Rabbi Bachman, 51, wrote that “with mixed emotion and after much soul searching” he will not renew his contract with Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood when it expires in June 2015.
The year’s notice will allow the synagogue to start a search process, in line with the “general guidelines” of the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, he wrote.
After watching “our community’s response” last year to Hurricane Sandy, the rabbi wrote, “I began to explore the idea of moving beyond strictly Jewish service and contemplate seriously the idea of serving disadvantaged communities broadly throughout New York City.”
Rabbi Bachman’s blog did not indicate what his next career position will be.
A native of Milwaukee, he was executive director of New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life: Hillel before joining Beth Elohim in 2006. He and his wife, Rachel Altstein, were founders of Brooklyn Jews, an outreach program for unaffiliated Jews in the borough.
Rabbi Bachman has made various rankings of the country’s top rabbis over the last several years.