The New York Board of Rabbis, established in 1881, is a professional membership organization whose vision is:
To be the primary forum for rabbis within New Yorks diverse rabbinical community -- including those who serve congregations, organizations, chaplaincies, communal service agencies, and schools -- for enhancing and expanding the Rabbinates role in the betterment of the Jewish people and the world at large while providing a spiritual environment for rabbis to promote Klal Yisrael, learn together, grow professionally, and build bridges both within the Jewish community and to other faiths.
back to top
THE NEW YORK BOARD OF RABBIS STRIVES TO:
- Work for the communal good of the Jewish people.
- Provide opportunities for rabbis of different denominations to come together for Torah study, professional development, and comprehensive ongoing education for personal and professional growth.
- Offer caring professional and personal support and mentoring.
- Advocate for rabbis professional needs and interests both locally and nationally.
- Work to insure that the Jewish community is provided the highest level of professional pastoral care, counseling, and chaplaincy in healthcare, behavioral health, long-term care, correctional, and other communal services settings.
- Strengthen its role as a respected rabbinical voice that advocates and mobilizes support on behalf of the Jewish communitys interests locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Advocate for Israel and other Jewish communities nationally and around the world.
- Work with other faith communities to promote increased understanding of one another and to pursue avenues of common concern.
- Attract new members of all denominations, especially targeting newly ordained rabbis and rabbinical students in their final year prior to ordination.
back to top
A Bit of History
The New York Board of Rabbis is
an organization of rabbis of all streams and groups serving in
New York State and adjacent areas of New Jersey and
Connecticut. Its membership consists of men and women who are
Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist who have
banded together for fellowship, religious camaraderie,
educational enrichment, and who are anxious to rise above
partisanship, theological differences and varied views about
Torah. The membership is committed to the ideals that in unity
there is strength and that there is a transcendent principle
of K'lal Yisrael - Jewish fellowship and communal
welfare. It is dedicated to the advancement of Jewish
religion, education and values.
In 1881, six rabbis of different persuasions formed the New
York Board of Jewish Ministers. The six included Rabbis Gustav
Gottheil, Adolph Huebsch, Henry S. Jacobs, Kaufmann Kohler, F.
de Sola Mendes and H. Pereira Mendes. It was their hope to
enrich Jewish education and advance Judaism among all segments
of the rapidly growing New York Jewry. In the same year, the
Board was asked by the community to provide
its first chaplain. In 1946, the name of the organization was
changed to the New York Board of Rabbis. In 1954, the Board
acquired a home at 10 East 73rd Street as a gift from the
estate of Dr. Albert Berg. In 1999, the Board moved to its
new offices in the B'nai Zion House at 136 East 39th Street.
Additionally, UJA-Federation of New York began subventing a
large portion of the expenses of the Board's chaplaincy
program, thus enhancing the lay-rabbinic partnership
established in 1881.
back to top
Our chaplains serve men, women
and children in scores of institutions throughout New York
State. These institutions include hospitals, mental
institutions, correctional facilities, youth shelters, homes
for the aged and nursing homes. Thousands of men, women and
children are counseled and served by our chaplains. The annual
Passover campaign raises money to supply kosher food and
religious articles for patients and inmates. At a time when
loneliness and despair frequently overwhelm Jews who are
unable to celebrate festivals with their families, the NYBR
offers solace, comfort, compassion - and a taste of love.
The chaplains also serve at High Holiday and Sabbath
services and introduce Jewish spirituality into the lives of
numerous congregants, including the sick and incarcerated. The
Chaplaincy Commission certifies chaplaincy candidates and
grants them religious endorsements for city, state and federal
facilities. Additionally, the Commission sponsors lectures,
seminars and in-service courses to assist the chaplains in
sharpening their skills. In recognition of the long and
generous support by Mr. Jack D. Weiler, the chaplaincy has
been named in his memory.
back to top
The NYBR works closely with clergy of other faiths in
furthering the cause of moral behavior in our society, in
protecting religious rights, and in seeking to introduce the
spiritual and moral teachings of the great religions into
government, schools, the marketplace, and human relations. The
NYBR has cordial relations with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Episcopal Diocese,
and the NY Council of Churches. The NYBR has initiated a
series of conferences and dialogues with African- American
clergy. It has also begun outreach to Hispanic and Haitian
clergy and Muslim religious spokesmen. The NYBR has joined
forces with other clergy in battling violence in our society,
in amending laws which affect non-profit institutions
onerously, in fighting Medicare cuts and a variety of other
public policy issues on both city and state levels. In the
spirit of Isaiah, the NYBR believes, "Come let us reason
together." The Board is committed to build bridges of
understanding, respect, and love between the various faith
back to top