Senior Rabbi Recommendation
On behalf of the search committee and the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to recommend Rabbi Aaron Meyer as our next Senior Rabbi, subject to congregational approval. This unanimous recommendation by the search committee was overwhelmingly approved by the Board and presents a clear choice that was the result of an extensive process inclusive of congregational input, rabbinic and staff input, multiple rounds of interviews, verification of his references, and a visit to the congregation he is currently serving.
We invite you to participate in a special Congregational Meeting on Sunday, January 27 at 12:15 pm as the next step in this search process. In order for you, the congregation, to be as excited about Rabbi Aaron as the search committee and the Board, we want to share his impressive accomplishments and background.
Rabbi Aaron is in his eighth year as an associate rabbi at Temple De Hirsch Sinai (TDHS) in Seattle, a 1,700 family congregation with three full-time pulpit rabbis, two full campuses, and extensive community outreach. As a result, he has often taken on a role that would more typically be expected of a senior rabbi. In his time there, he has:
- Led multiple services weekly, including High Holiday services, as the sole rabbi for each campus;
- Led active and diverse Torah Study, adult education, and Introduction to Judaism groups;
- Coordinated a diverse music program inclusive of traditional and contemporary styles of worship;
- Maintained excellent pastoral relationships with congregants of all ages.
Indeed, one of Rabbi Aaron’s unique strengths is being able to engage congregants throughout each stage of life. He regularly:
- Leads Tot Shabbat and serves as the rabbi for TDHS’s preschool and its families;
- Tutors b’nai mitzvah students and helps families prepare for these milestone s’machot;
- Leads services and discussion groups at at senior living facilities;
- Earned a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Washington;
- Delivers relevant, meaningful sermons and messages tailored to diverse audiences.
Rabbi Aaron has distinguished himself as a leader in the Seattle area as well as within the national Jewish community. He strongly believes in inclusiveness as a preeminent Jewish value, welcoming interfaith families and engaging in the ongoing work of LGBTQ+ equality. He is committed to social justice/social action and has an impressive track record of meaningful impact through his work:
- Spearheading the TDHS Campaign for Gun Responsibility, which received a 2015 Fain Award from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism;
- Testifying before the Washington legislature as a representative of the Jewish community on issues of criminal justice reform, gun responsibility, and LGBTQ+ equality;
- Traveling to Washington, D.C. with Mazon as one of 13 inter-denominational rabbis interested in protecting SNAP benefits while supporting a just Farm Bill and curbing veteran hunger;
- Creating a meaningful, inspiring response to the Tree of Life shooting inclusive of diverse faith and civic leaders for more than 4,000 people;
- Co-chairing the Faith Action Network, Washington State’s largest interfaith coalition, where he was intimately involved in development and fundraising.
All of Rabbi Aaron’s references were glowing about his qualities as a listener, his warmth as a person, his high character, his desire to be involved, and his devotion to his duty as a rabbi. Throughout the search process, Rabbi Aaron has demonstrated his sense of humor, thoughtfulness, caring nature, humility, dedication to learning and growing, and emotional intelligence. In other words, Rabbi Aaron is a mensch.
Of Rabbi Aaron’s leaving TDHS after eight years, Senior Rabbi Danny Weiner stated the following:
For any worthy rabbi of considered ability and healthy ambition, there comes a time to move onward and upward, charting one’s own course and implementing one’s own rabbinic vision for an eager community. That time has come for our friend, colleague and teacher, Rabbi Meyer. We are immensely proud that Rabbi Meyer’s growth and development as a rabbi within our Temple family can serve another community in need of leadership at this crucial time for American Jews.
Born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, Rabbi Aaron is looking forward to returning to the area. Prior to the rabbinate, he attended The Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science. While in rabbinical school, he also participated in the U.S. Army Chaplain Candidate Program. He is married to Rabbi Emily Meyer and has two kids, Evelyn (3) and Eli (two months).
Just as we’re excited about Rabbi Aaron, his interest and enthusiasm for Temple is obvious: we were the only congregation to which he applied. He says:
I am honored and humbled to be considered for the position of Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel. The strength of Jewish life in the South Hills is eminently clear, demonstrated by Temple’s thoughtful and committed lay leadership; inspiring staff and rabbinic team; and the warmth of the many congregants I have had the pleasure of meeting. Emily, Evelyn, Eli, and I are so excited about this opportunity to make our home in Steelers Country, building upon Rabbi Mahler’s impressive legacy and helping Temple Emanuel remain the central address for inclusive, meaningful Jewish community.
The search committee and Board of Trustees believes Rabbi Aaron Meyer is the right fit for our congregation as Temple Emanuel moves from strength to strength and prepares for future generations. With his ability to inspire congregants and community members, along with all of his wonderful qualities, he is a leader among the next generation of Reform rabbis. We will be honored to have him!
Hope to see you at the Congregational Meeting!
David Weisberg Michelle Markowitz
President Settled Rabbi Search Committee Chair