Manhattan’s Temple Emanu-El, one of the oldest and largest Reform congregations in the world, has hired Rabbi Joshua Davidson as its senior rabbi.
Rabbi Davidson, the spiritual leader at Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester, in Chappaqua, will replace Rabbi David Posner, who is retiring at the end of May.
The son of another prominent Reform rabbi — Jerome Davidson, who led Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, L.I., for more than three decades — Rabbi Davidson, who is in his mid-40s, has led the Westchester temple, which has 570 families, since 2002.
During his tenure there, he has served as president of both the Westchester Board of Rabbis and the Chappaqua Interfaith Council. From 2001-2006, he served as chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Committee on Justice, Peace and Religious Liberties and vice-chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism.
“I am thrilled and honored by the invitation to lead this extraordinary congregation and, if all goes as planned, follow in the footsteps of my beloved colleagues Rabbis David Posner and Ronald Sobel and the giants of the rabbinate who preceded them,” Rabbi Davidson wrote in an e-mail to The Jewish Week. “Upon confirmation, I would start at Temple Emanu-El on July 1.”
Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester will hire Rabbi Alan Fuchs as interim rabbi and begin a search for a permanent successor later this year.
The leadership transition at Emanu-El coincides with numerous other leadership changes at the top of the Reform movement: last week Rabbi Peter Rubinstein of Central Synagogue, just blocks away from Emanu-El, announced he will retire. In addition, the president of Reform’s seminary, Hebrew Union College— Rabbi David Ellenson — also recently announced plans to retire. Meanwhile, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the umbrella organization for the entire movement, assumed his post a little over a year ago, replacing Rabbi Eric Yoffie.
The changes aren’t limited to Manhattan: In Queens, the Reform Temple of Forest Hills recently hired a new senior rabbi — Mark Kaiserman — to replace Rabbi Mayer Perelmuter, who retires this summer after 36 years.