Adas Israel names Holtzblatt, Alexander co-rabbis

Rabbis Aaron Alexander and Lauren Holtzblatt. Photo courtesy Adas Israel Congregation

Rabbis Lauren Holtzblatt and Aaron Alexander, who were given joint responsibility for primary rabbinic duties at Washington’s Adas Israel Congregation after Senior Rabbi Gil Steinlauf announced he was stepping down in April, have been named co-head rabbis of the Conservative synagogue.

Holtzblatt, 40, started at Adas in 2011, Alexander, 42, in 2015.

“A partnership between Rabbis Holtzblatt and Alexander, serving as co-Senior Rabbis, presents the congregation with an unparalleled opportunity for our future,” synagogue president Ricki Gerger wrote to the 1,550-member congregation Monday.

As Adas Israel searched for a successor to Steinlauf,  ”Rabbis Alexander and Holtzblatt then submitted a detailed proposal for a shared Senior Rabbi Partnership,” Gerger wrote.

“The final steps in this hiring process will now be for the rabbis and the synagogue leadership to agree on contractual terms, and for the contracts ultimately to be approved by the Board of Directors,” Gerger wrote.

Holtzblatt has revitalized the congregation’s caretaking and bereavement efforts, co-created the MakomDC adult learning curriculum, and directs the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, according to Gerger.

Alexander, a former associate dean and lecturer in rabbinic and Jewish law at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, sits on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for the Conservative movement. According to Gerger, Alexander “has elevated our Social Action work to a high level of recognition.”

After the rabbis’ contracts are finalized, the synagogue will begin to look for an associate rabbi, Gerger said.

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