Rabbinical Assembly names first Canadian president

Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — The Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly named its first Canadian president.

Rabbi Philip Scheim, elected by the membership of the body, has been a rabbi at Beth David Congregation in Toronto since just after he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1981, and has led the congregation since 1984.

He replaces Rabbi William Gershon of Dallas, who took a leave of absence last month for the final weeks of his two-year term as R.A. president after resigning as rabbi of his synagogue, citing questions about his sexual identity and apparent marital infidelity.

The first Canadian to lead in the history of the organization, founded in 1901, Scheim will be installed on Sunday at an event in New York.

He has served on the movement’s Committee of Jewish Law and Standards, and has been deeply involved in Canadian pro-Israel activism.

“He has emphasized the connection between his congregation and the State of Israel, and the importance of reflecting and exemplifying Canadian values in all of its congregants’ endeavors,” the assembly said this week in a statement.

The Rabbinical Assembly encompasses both the Conservative movement in North America and its affiliated Masorti movement overseas.

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