Less than a week after Rabbi Julie Schoenfeld stepped down as head of the Conservative movement’s rabbinic arm, the Rabbinical Assembly, the CEO of its congregational arm, Rabbi Steven Wernick, will step down next June, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism announced Wednesday.
Rabbi Wernick, who led the movement for nine years, “desires to return to the pulpit and to his calling for the sacred work of the kehilla,” according to a letter from Margo Gold, international president of USCJ.
“We are very grateful to Rabbi Wernick for his transformative leadership and vision over the past nine years,” the letter continued. “He has been a distinguished, respected and energetic leader. He has inspired USCJ’s lay leadership, executive team, our staff and many supporters in our work together. Collectively, we are strengthening our network, advocating for our values and deepening relationships with partners across the movement, in Israel and around the world, to create a thriving, vital presence for Conservative Judaism today and into the future.”
Rabbi Wernick, who presided over a movement that has lost market share and for some years struggled to define a consistent message as Judaism’s middle movement, will step down when his current contract expires on June 30, 2019.