Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 1, 2009

Temple Judah names new rabbi

 CEDAR RAPIDS — Four years after coming to Cedar Rapids to serve as rabbi for the city’s only synagogue, Rabbi Aaron Sherman has left the post.

Sherman’s last day at Temple Judah, 3221 Lindsey Lane SE, was June 30.

Details surrounding Sherman’s departure are unclear, but Temple Judah co-president Charlie Litow said the decision for Sherman to not return when his contract expired was “a mutual decision.”

“I think we left under very good circumstances,” Litow said. “It really was kind of mutual, it was friendly. Nobody’s looking to ‘out’ anybody, it wasn’t anything like that.”

Repeated telephone calls to Sherman seeking comment were not returned.

Litow said a new rabbi has already been named and will begin working at the synagogue on Aug. 1. Rabbi Todd Thalblum, originally from Kansas City, Mo., is in the process of moving from Houston, Texas.

Thalblum’s appointment is a vast change from the nearly 10 months it took the synagogue to find a new rabbi in 2005, when Sherman was hired, Litow said. At that time, the synagogue conducted a rabbi search to replace longtime rabbi Edward Chesman, who served the synagogue for 18 years before dying unexpectedly while on vacation.

Sherman had given his notice to the synagogue’s congregational leadership, and a search was started immediately. Litow said there were ample candidates because of the current economic situation.

“What’s happened with the downturn in the economy, it’s been a tough time for rabbis,” he said. “A great number of rabbis have lost their jobs.”

In his four years in Cedar Rapids, Sherman continued what Chesman had started in making the synagogue a part of the community at large and becoming involved in interfaith dialogues. Sherman was at one time vice president of the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County, and participated in the Children of Abraham discussions. He participated often in interfaith religious services and served on the board of the “Ethical Perspectives on the News” television program.

Litow said the congregation was very supportive of Sherman’s community involvement and hopes Thalblum continues that activity.

“The number one priority is obviously the temple but we really hope he can immerse himself in all of that,” Litow said.

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