We are delighted to welcome Rabbi Michael Rothbaum as Congregation Beth Elohim’s new rabbi. Rabbi Rothbaum will join the community in early June and begin his responsibilities full time on July 1st. We welcome Rabbi Rothbaum and look forward to his leadership in the Beth Elohim community and on the bimah.
Rabbi Michael Rothbaum
Rabbi Michael Rothbaum is presently Co-Chair of the Bay Area Regional Council of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. Rabbi Rothbaum is a graduate of the Academy of Jewish Religion in New York (AJR-NY) where he received his Rabbinic S’mikhah (ordination) in 2006 (Rabbi Mintz is also a graduate of AJR-NY). 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. More recently and while serving on the regional council of BEND THE ARC, Rabbi Rothbaum was the Youth and Family Education Director at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA, and the 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, presently live in Oakland, CA.