Posted by: mollyrossiter | July 2, 2009

New rabbi looking forward to move

Rabbi Todd Thalblum is a 41-year-old husband and father of two pre-teens (son is 12, daughter is 10) who is looking forward to returning to the Midwest and to the opportunities awaiting him in Cedar Rapids.

That’s what he told me when I caught up with him briefly this afternoon on a phone conversation from his Texas home.

“We live in the suburbs of Houston and Cedar Rapids reminds us of where we are now,” he said.  He said the city is also “similar to the places we grew up” — he in Kansas City, his wife in Boulder, Colo.

Thalblum has been named rabbi of Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, replacing the outgoing Rabbi Aaron Sherman.

“We’re looking forward to the move,” he said.

The rabbi has some big shoes to fill. The two men before him — Rabbi Edward Chesman for 18 years and Rabbi Aaron Sherman for four — were both very active in their congregation but also in the Cedar Rapids community at-large. Chesman helped create the Children of Abraham group and was a founding father of the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County, and Sherman picked up the baton and ran with both. Both men were eager to help the greater community learn about Judaism and to respect religious differences.

Thalblum is ready for his turn.

“The first priority is going to be getting to know the congregation, that’s going to come first,” he said. But he plans to get actively involved fairly early in community interests, as well.

“The congregation has talked very much about what they’ve enjoyed about the rabbi being involved in the community,” he said. That’s something he plans to continue.

Thalblum is scheduled to begin work at the synagogue on Aug. 1; he and his family hope to be here within the next two to three weeks.

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