On July 19, 1999 Rabbi Eric Gurvis officially became Temple Shalom's third Senior Rabbi
in its 50 year history
...Rabbi Eric Gurvis replaces Rabbi David Whiman at Temple Shalom
...NEWTON - Rabbi Eric Gurvis, a longtime spiritual leader who has had pulpits in New York, Jackson, Miss., and most recently, Teaneck, N.J., has come to Boston and will be replacing Rabbi David Whiman at Temple Shalom of Newton.
A graduate of SUNY-Albany and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
was drawn to the rabbinate from an early age.Through a family active in synagogue life in Westbury, Long Island, he joined the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NIFTY) and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) camps.He was a song leader there as well as a music teacher at his own temple, yet he was "unimpressed,", he says, with how the NIFTY rabbis interacted with him and his peers.
"Before you criticize, you have to try to do better," he
cautioned himself, and with that, his
journey in to rabbinics began."By all accounts, he [Gurvis] is a genuinely caring person" who will be sensitive to "the pastoral and counseling needs of our members," notes Temple Shalom President Edmund Case.
Case also looks to Gurvis's
leadership in what he
calls "the currently ongoing discussion of Reform Jewish practice becoming more traditional," critical, he
feels, in the development of his
community and an area in which the rabbi is ripe to lead.Gurvis
, on his
side, praises the Newton congregation as being "on the cutting edge" of lifelong learning, social action and tikkun olam or rectification of the world through good deeds.Like Case, he looks forward "to being involved in the larger non-Jewish community" and in interfaith activities, an area in which he excelled in both Mississippi and New Jersey as vice chairman of the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference, founding chairperson of the Jackson Clergy Network, board member of the Catholic Charities of Mississippi and the Community Stewpot, Inc. of Jackson, and as a member of the board of directors of the Interreligious Fellowship for the Homeless of Bergen County.Gurvis remains a member of the Teaneck Clergy Council, the North Jersey Board of Rabbis and the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis, and sits on the Board of Directors of the UJA-Federation of Bergen and North Hudson and the Task Force on Jewish Continuity of United Jewish Community of Bergen and Hudson Counties.He has also served as a member of the Faith and Values Board of The Record (North Jersey's daily newspaper) and is a regular contributor to the weekly divrei Torah published in The Jewish Standard.
But the Long Island native who in 1985 was granted life membership in the North American Federation of Temple Youth
and in 1992 received the Religious Leadership Award by the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference, is modest about his
short-term goal, he
says, is to be "a student of this congregation ... , [of] their history, their vision, and their journey."And in the long-term, the rabbi, his
wife Laura and their four children hope "to become part of the family" at Temple Shalom
, where, according to Gurvis
, "people are eager to integrate their Jewish selves into the rest of their lives."
...Rabbi Eric Gurvis has begun serving as its new senior rabbi.
The Temple's Board
...Gurvis, 42, comes to Temple Shalom, from Temple Emeth in Teaneck, New
rabbinic career spans more than 15 years following his
ordination fromHebrew Union College
in 1983.Since then he also has held rabbinic posts at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City; Temple Beth El, Lexington, Mississippi; and Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, Mississippi.
In addition to his
extensive rabbinic experience, Gurvis
has been recognized as a leader in both the youth and camping programs of the Union for Reform Judaism
(URJ).In 1985, he
was elected to Life Membership in the North American Federation of Temple Youth
.For seven years, Rabbi Gurvis served as the chairperson of the Committee on Youth for the Central Conference of American Rabbis
, the professional organization of the North American Reform Rabbinate. He is a member of the National Board of ARZA - The Association of Reform
Zionists of America.Rabbi Gurvis also has taught religious studies at Hebrew Union College and Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, and Tougaloo College and Millsaps College in Mississippi.As a community leader, Rabbi Gurvis has served as President of the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference and chair of the inter-group Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Bergen and North Hudson in New Jersey.
was unanimously approved Monday night, May 10 at a special meeting of the congregation.The special meeting was called following a unanimous vote last month by the Temple Board of Trustees recommending Rabbi Gurvis' selection.Rabbi Gurvis replaces David Whiman who announced his
resignation in October 1998, 10 years after he
became senior rabbi succeeding Rabbi Murray Rothman.Rabbi Whiman's tenure at our Temple ends in May 1999 as he becomes senior rabbi at a congregation in Houston.
...Rabbi Eric Gurvis was born in Bronx, New York and raised in Westbury, New York.He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Albany in May 1978.His degree was in Sociology and Judaic Studies.
In 1978 Gurvis
studies for the rabbinate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
.He studied in Jerusalem and in New York, receiving a Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR in 1981 and ordination from the College-Institute as a Rabbi on May 29, 1983.
Rabbi Gurvis served as Assistant Rabbi of Temple Shaaray Tefila
in New York City from June 1983 through June 1986, and as Associate Rabbi of the congregation from June 1986 through June 1987.In New York, Rabbi Gurvis served on the Board of the Yorkville Civic Council
and the Yorkville Common Pantry.He was a member of the Task Force on the Jewish Family of the Commission on Synagogue Relations of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York from 1983-87 and served as chairman of the Task Force on the Jewish Family from 1986-87.He was a member of the Executive Council of the Commission on Synagogue Relations during that same period. In July 1987 Rabbi Gurvis assumed the pulpit of Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, Mississippi where he served for five years.
In July 1992 he
assumed the pulpit of Temple Emeth
in Teaneck, New Jersey where he
will complete his
tenure in August 1999.
Rabbi Gurvis has been recognized as a leader in both the youth and camping programs of the Union for Reform Judaism
(URJ - the Reform Jewish movement).He was a Rabbinic Advisor to CRaFTY - City Region - a Federation of Temple Youth in New York City from 1981-87 and SoFTY - the Southern Federation of Temple Youth, covering Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and eastern Tennessee from 1987-92.
Rabbi Gurvis was chairperson of the Committee on Youth for the Central Conference of American Rabbis
(the professional organization of the North American Reform rabbinate) from 1986-93.He serves on the National Committee on Temple Youth of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and was a member of the URJ Task Force on Youth Suicide (now a part of the Department of Family Concerns).
Rabbi Gurvis is on the National Board of ARZA
- the Association of Reform Zionists of America
has also served on the Commission on Social Action of the URJ