Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Rubinger: 'Good time for a change!'


October 6, 2017

Rabbi Aaron Rubinger

It started with a two-year contract back in August 1990, and now, 27 years later, Rabbi Aaron Daniel Rubinger is laying down the mantel of senior rabbi at Congregation Ohev Shalom and assuming the title of rabbi emeritus.

"The last two years I've considered working just part-time," he told Heritage, "so, when the synagogue leadership offered me this opportunity, I was thrilled!"

The change will go into effective Oct. 15. Rubinger will still perform some lifecycle events, conduct some services and teach classes.

"I'm looking forward to this new phase of my life, but I plan to be here for a number of years yet!" he said.

Before coming to Orlando, Rubinger served as rabbi of the Temple Beth Abraham congregation in Canton, Mass. Never one to limit himself to rabbinical duties, he worked for Soviet Jewry, Israel Bonds, The Solomon Schechter Day School of Great Boston, as well as being active in the Big Brother and Big Sister Association.

His sense of obligation to his fellow Jews has made him a man of action. Rubinger once organized a three-day hunger strike with the rabbis of the New England Rabbinical Assembly on behalf of a prisoner of Zion. A strong Zionist, Rubinger spent four months in Israel during the Yom Kippur War to help with food distribution and the evacuation of children from areas near the Golan Heights.

Rubinger decided to come to Orlando because he saw "the warmth of the people... and the tone set by Rabbi Adler..."

In Orlando, he continued with his activism and involvement with Soviet Jewry. When the Ku Klux Klan held a protest at the Maitland JCC, Rabbi Rubinger was in the forefront opposing them, and in 2010, Rubinger was one of 15 rabbis who met with former Pres. Obama to discuss their concerns about Israel.

Now he wants to tone down his activities and synagogue responsibilities a little, and "spend more time with his grandchildren," he stated.

"I love the people of this synagogue very much," he said, but also mentioned that this job is not a 9 to 5 job. "It's all the time-weekends and holidays. If I want to see my children and grandchildren at Thanksgiving, they have to come here!"

This change will allow him that opportunity to spend more time with his family and still be involved in COS.

"It has touched my heart that so many people are happy for me," he said. "I was in the grocery store this morning and one woman came up to me and said she was sad, but also happy for me. That really touched my heart."

As for changes in the synagogue leadership, Rubinger is confident that the staff and leadership will make all the right decisions and COS will continue to be a vibrant congregation.


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