Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel Named President of LBI

Leo Baeck Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel as president.

Rabbi Sobel, Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanu-El in New York City, is a highly regarded scholar of classic philosophy, biblical tradition and contemporary social issues. Previously serving as a trustee of Leo Baeck Institute, Rabbi Sobel is a visionary leader in the tradition of Rabbi Leo Baeck, the Institute’s first president.

An influential figure in New York City religious life, Rabbi Sobel was the youngest senior rabbi elected by the congregation in 1973 and served in that role for 28 years. Among his numerous accomplishments during his tenure at Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Sobel helped launch the Skirball Center, an adult Jewish education center.

Rabbi Sobel has also played a major role in fostering the dialogue of interfaith relations. He was the first rabbi to preach from the high pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, helped found an interfaith group called A Partnership of Faith in New York and has served as Chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation.

“Leo Baeck Institute is proud that Rabbi Sobel accepted this important position and will apply his profound erudition to our mission,” said Executive Director Carol Kahn Strauss. “By education, training and experience, Dr. Sobel is completely familiar with the context of Leo Baeck Institute library and archives which document the history of German-speaking Jewry, from medieval times to the present.”

Rabbi Sobel said, “Throughout the horror of the Holocaust years, Rabbi Leo Baeck, the then leader of Germany’s Jewish Community, never wavered in his belief that it was God’s commandment for the Jewish people to live. In that spirit, it is likewise the purpose of the Leo Baeck Institute to keep alive the remarkable story of German Jewry’s brilliant contributions to the canon of Western culture and modern Jewish thought. How could anyone not be humbled and honored to accept the presidency of the Institute? Indeed, I am deeply moved by election to this position of trust and responsibility.”

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