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Temple Israel of Westport appoints new rabbi

Published 8:18 am, Saturday, January 11, 2014
  • Rabbi Michael S. Friedman has been appointed senior rabbi of Temple Israel, succeeding Rabbi Robert Orkand, the congregation's longtime leader. Photo: Contributed Photo / Westport News contributed

    Rabbi Michael S. Friedman has been appointed senior rabbi of Temple Israel, succeeding Rabbi Robert Orkand, the congregation's longtime leader.

    Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Rabbi Michael S. Friedman has been appointed senior rabbi of Temple Israel, succeeding Rabbi Robert Orkand, who retired as senior rabbi after 30 years of service to the Reform congregation. The new senior rabbi will begin his position on July 1.

Since 2008, Friedman has been associate rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City, a large congregation where he has worked in programs for youth engagement, adult learning, interfaith outreach and community involvement, according to Temple Israel's announcement of his appointment.

"We are thrilled that Rabbi Friedman will join us in adding an exciting, next chapter to the vital and respected history of our temple," Steven Phillips, president of Temple Israel, said in the announcement.

Friedman is a graduate of Yale University with a bachelor's degree in history, and received his ordination from the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 2004. He served as a rabbinic intern at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, N.Y.; as director of junior and senior high school programs for the Union for Reform Judaism, and as an assistant rabbi at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, N.J.

He is also an adjunct faculty member at Hebrew Union College and a longtime member of Running Rabbis, a group that uses distance running to advance a variety of social causes. For the past two years, he has guided visually impaired runners in the New York City Marathon.

"It is with great enthusiasm and delight that I accept the position of senior rabbi of Temple Israel," Friedman said. "It is a congregation with a great future. I look forward to working with the staff and lay leadership to help Temple Israel become the very best that it can be."

The new senior rabbi will be married in May to Haley Lieberman, a costume designer and fashion stylist for film, theater and advertising.