New Senior Rabbi appointed at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim

Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton, appointed Barry Schlesinger as Senior Rabbi.

Prior to accepting the position, Schlesinger — informally known as Rav Barry — served since 2012 as the spiritual leader of Agudath Israel in Ottawa, Canada.

ldquo;Shaare Shamayim is not a just a Conservative shul or a Traditional shul, it is a unique shul,” he said. “I enjoy the opportunity to daven with both shuls and want to strengthen them both equally. We teach Torah, enhance observance and Jewish pride — this is the commonality. We also promote learning and cultural opportunities that we can enjoy together. My goal is to help and inspire all of our congregants live Judaism intelligently, enthusiastically and with love.”

Schlesinger grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, before making Aliyah and relocating to Israel in 1972 at age 19. After marrying Shira Rackovsky in 1975 and earning a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Bar Ilan University in 1976, he served as the director of various social programs and community centers.

From 1978 to 1981, he served in the Israel Defense Forces (as did each of his six children and their spouses), achieving the rank of sergeant major. Rav Barry and Shira have eight grandchildren.

Ordained in August 2001, Rav Barry served as the spiritual leader of Kehilat Moreshet Avraham in East Talpiot, a neighborhood of southern East Jerusalem. He later served two terms as president of the Israeli branch of the Conservative Movement’s International Rabbinical Assembly (from 2006–2010). In 2010–11, Rav Barry was spiritual leader for Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Jewish families in the Philadelphia region are invited to celebrate the High Holy Days at Shaare Shamayim and receive their first year of membership free of charge, along with a free first year of Hebrew School for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Call 215–677–1600 or visit shaareshamayim.org ••