2016 − 5777

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Our Rabbi — Rabbi Leonard A. Schoolman, D.D.

Rabbi Schoolman, our High Holy Day spiritual leader for the last ten years, is widely considered one of the leading experts in relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims. He is currently the consultant to the Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on interfaith activities.

He was the founding director of the Center for Religious Inquiry at St. Bartholomew's Church in the City of New York since its inception in early 1999. Previously, he was the director of the Center for Theological Studies at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston. Each of these programs has been a pioneering effort at engaging Christians, Muslims and Jews in serious study about their religion and the religions of others.

He is the author of The Changing Christian World: A Brief Introduction for Jews (Jewish Lights, 2008). This volume is the first time a rabbi has ever written a volume designed to explain Christian theology to Jews. The book was thoroughly vetted by Catholic and Protestant scholars, and it has been praised for the clarity of its explanations to those who are not experts in theology.

In connection with a traveling museum exhibition, Rabbi Schoolman edited a volume of Holocaust art done in the concentration camps, Spiritual Resistance, which includes an essay by historian Lucy Dawidowicz, and museum director Tom L. Freudenheim. The show opened in New York at the Jewish Museum.

Rabbi Schoolman was the administrative editor of the UAHC Torah Commentary, working with contemporary biblical commentators, in producing the first American commentary on the Five Books of Moses.

Rabbi Schoolman is the author of two textbooks for children on Jewish prayer: Adventures in Prayer and Transition and Change (with Benjamin Efron).

For 18 years, from 1968 to 1986, he was a member of the national staff of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now Union for Reform Judaism) in New York, the central agency of North American Reform Judaism. For most of those years, he directed the biennial national conventions, with more than 4,000 delegates from all over the continent. As director of program, he supervised many core departments, including education, and book and music publishing. For more than ten years, he directed the program activities of the then 14 regional offices.

Rabbi Schoolman was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters, a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, and a Doctor of Divinity degree. He was ordained there at the historic Plum Street Temple. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.

As a congregational rabbi, he served pulpits in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Rochester, New York. While living in Houston, he served Temple Beth Shalom in College Station, Texas on a weekend basis. This congregation was made up largely of academics teaching at Texas A&M University.

He is married, with two adult children and two grandchildren.