Rabbi Michael Rothbaum became our spiritual leader on July 1, 2017. He is a graduate of the Academy of Jewish Religion in New York (AJR-NY) where he received his Rabbinic S’mikhah (ordination) in 2006. He graduated from the New College of Florida in 1997 with a BA in Public Policy/Economics.
Rabbi Rothbaum was raised in Rockland County, New York just north of New York City. Following completion of religious school and confirmation class, Rabbi Rothbaum felt impelled to get involved in social justice causes. As Rabbi Rothbaum looks back, it was the Jewish imperative of r’difat tzedek – the pursuit of justice – that solidified his love of Judaism and his passion to become a rabbi.Rabbi Rothbaum was the Campus Rabbi, Hillels of Westchester (NY), during which he served as sole rabbinic figure for students at Sarah Lawrence College and Purchase College. He has served as Director of Congregational Learning at Kehillat Lev Shalem – the Woodstock, NY Jewish Congregation and Rabbi Rothbaum was the rabbi at the Philipstown Reform Synagogue in Cold Spring, NY.
Most recently, he was Co-Chair of the Bay Area Regional Council of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. While serving at Bend the Arc he was also Youth and Family Education Director at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA, and Rabbi-Educator at Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, CA.Rabbi Rothbaum has spoken and taught widely, addressing groups as varied as Moishe House, Jewish Community Relations Council, and Nuns on the Bus. He has appeared in front of audiences at the US Senate and House of Representatives, Oakland City Council, and the New York State Democratic Party. In 2012 he joined a rabbinic delegation to Ghana, sponsored by American Jewish World Service. He is devoted to creating and nurturing vibrant learning communities, and sharing his love of Torah and commitment to justice in formal and informal settings. His writing has been included in the Forward, Tikkun, the Huffington Post, and the anthology, “Peace, Justice, and Jews: Reclaiming Our Tradition” (2007). Rabbi Rothbaum is a passionate advocate for the importance of living Jewish values in everything we do.
Rabbi Rothbaum and his husband, Anthony (Mordechai Tvzi) Russell, an accomplished Yiddish vocalist, have recently relocated from Oakland, California, to the Acton area.
Meet Rabbi Rothbaum
Rabbi Rothbaum is looking forward to meeting as many congregants as possible in the near future. To that end, beginning July 1, please feel free to come by the synagogue to say Shalom on Tuesdays 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Thursdays 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Or, stop by Acton Coffee House on Mass. Ave. on Wednesday mornings 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. to meet over a beverage.