January 16, 2019

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld to Resign from Rabbinical Assembly

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld announced on Mar. 23 that she will be stepping down from her position as chief executive officer (CEO) and executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly (RA).

In a letter to her colleagues, Schonfeld wrote that she has decided to not have her contract renewed so she can take on “new challenges.” On January 1, 2019, Schonfeld will partake in a six-month sabbatical and will officially step down on June 30, 2019.

“I feel extremely fortunate that, because the Rabbinical Assembly has such a small staff, but sits at a crossroads of so many sectors, that my tenure here gave me the opportunity to learn and to lead in so many different arenas,” Schonfeld wrote. “I had the opportunity to work at high levels of public life, with governments and NGOs, dealing with matters of complex negotiation and even more complex communications.”

Schonfeld touted how she helped lead the effort to bring “the Lev Shalem series to fruition.”

“Conservative Judaism’s founding and fundamental lesson is that in order to thrive, our community and its institutions must repeatedly reinvent themselves,” Schonfeld wrote. “The Rabbinical Assembly is a wonderful and important organization that can effectively support rabbis at all stages of our careers. I leave our organization more deeply convinced than ever of its value.”

Phillip Scheim, president of the RA, sent an email to the RA that stated, “We are grateful to Rabbi Julie Schonfeld for her 17 years of service to the RA, including nine years as our Executive Vice President/CEO. Julie’s leadership has been recognized world-wide in her advocacy for Masorti values and concerns, and our Assembly has been strengthened through her efforts and achievements.”

“We wish Julie continued achievement and derekh tzelahah, as she explores new opportunities, and know that her voice, her wisdom and her dedication will continue to energize, uplift and inspire the Jewish world and society at large.”

The RA will be forming a committee to find a replacement for Schonfeld.

Schonfeld has spent 17 years on the RA, where she was initially the Director of Rabbinical Development and then named as executive vice president in 2009. Schonfeld also served on the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration and deemed as “one of the 50 most influential Rabbis in America” by Newsweek.