JTA: "Weinblatt to head RA Israel Advocacy Office"

JTA: "Weinblatt to head RA Israel Advocacy Office"

Less than two weeks after naming a Washington, D.C.-area rabbi as the head of its new Office of Public Policy, the Rabbinical Assembly has named another rabbi from the Washington area as the director of a new Washington initiative.

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, from Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Md., will head up the RA's new Israel Advocacy Office. Weinblatt is active in a variety of local and national Jewish organizations, including AIPAC, Israel Bonds and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

"The rabbis of the Conservative movement have traditionally played an important role strengthening the relationship and fostering the sense of partnership between the American Jewish community and the people of Israel," said Weinblatt in a statement. "I look forward to the opportunity to build upon that foundation and to further develop our ties and advocacy at this critical time."

The complete RA press release is after the jump:

Head of Israel Advocacy Office of the RA

Named by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Incoming Head

Choice is Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of Potomac, MD

Popular Community Leader, Author, Activist

Voted "Best Rabbi in Washington"

(May 13, 2009. New York, NY) – A popular Potomac-based Conservative rabbi has just been named to serve as the director of the new Israel Advocacy Office of the Rabbinical Assembly, based in Washington, DC, announced incoming executive vice president Rabbi Julie Schonfeld.

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, the founding rabbi of Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, is the second Conservative rabbi to be named as the head of a new DC-based initiative in recent weeks. Rabbi Jack Moline of Alexandria, VA, director of the RA's Office of Public Policy, was the first appointee.

"In choosing a rabbi to lead our Israel advocacy arm, Stuart Weinblatt was the obvious choice," stated Rabbi Schonfeld. "Active in local and national organizations, Rabbi Weinblatt is a leader within the Rabbinical Assembly, the Jewish community and society at large. He's well-connected, fully conversant on the issues facing Israel and has the inside track as to what kind of advocacy work we can undertake as a rabbinate."

Having served as president of the Washington Board of Rabbis and Washington/Baltimore region of the Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Weinblatt is currently a Vice Chair of the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet. He is also on the Executive Board of the Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds, the Federation of Greater Washington and the National Executive Council of AIPAC.  In 2009, Governor Martin O'Malley appointed Rabbi Weinblatt to the Maryland Council for New Americans.

"The rabbis of the Conservative movement have traditionally played an important role strengthening the relationship and fostering the sense of partnership between the American Jewish community and the people of Israel," said Rabbi Weinblatt. "I look forward to the opportunity to build upon that foundation and to further develop our ties and advocacy at this critical time." 

The recent appointment of Michael Oren to the role of Israel's ambassador to the US coincides with the creation of the RA's Office of Israel Advocacy in DC and it is expected that Rabbi Weinblatt will interface with Dr. Oren (who grew up in a Conservative Jewish home) in the course of his work.

Rabbi Weinblatt's office is part of the RA's new, five-point agenda which will include Social Justice Partnerships, The Washington Public Policy Office, Interfaith Work and Hekhsher Tzedek -- a star project of the Conservative movement which is focused on creating an ethical certification process for kosher foods.

The establishment of the RA's Israel Advocacy office builds on the tradition of the timely and relevant resolutions which are passed yearly by the voting members of the Assembly, typically in the course of their annual conventions. Many of these resolutions have to do with Israel. The resolutions of the RA can be viewed at http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/living/social_action.html.

The Washington-based Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg, president of the RA and rabbi emeritus of Adas Israel extended congratulations to Rabbi Weinblatt on his appointment, praising Rabbi Schonfeld's choice. "Within a matter of weeks, Rabbi Schonfeld has managed to create a formidable presence in Washington, placing the Rabbinical Assembly at the epicenter of the important issues of the day."
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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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