Rabbi Sunshine Is Chosen

Rabbi Ari Sunshine said he is looking forward to exploring the challenges facing today’s Jewish community.
Rabbi Ari Sunshine said he is looking forward to exploring the challenges facing today’s Jewish community.

Rabbi Ari Sunshine, religious leader of B’nai Shalom Synagogue in Olney, is among a group of 27 rabbis across North America chosen to participate in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s 5th Rabbinical Leadership Cohort.

The Rabbinical Leadership Cohort was started by Hartman Institute founder, the late Rabbi Professor David Hartman, in 2000. Its mission is to provide pluralistic continuing education and collaborative and leadership development opportunities for rabbis representing the diverse spectrum of Jewish communities.

Rabbi Sunshine, 40, a Potomac native who attended Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and Brandeis University, was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 2002. Prior to becoming rabbi of Conservative congregation B’nai Shalom in 2006, Rabbi Sunshine served as associate rabbi of Temple Israel in Charlotte, N.C. The rabbi and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of Jonah, 9, and Elana, 6. Rabbi Sunshine is president of the Greater Olney Interfaith Ministerium and also serves as the vice president of the Washington-Baltimore Region of the Rabbinical Assembly.

“I am very excited to participate in the Hartman Institute’s Cohort,” said Rabbi Sunshine. “I have heard wonderful things about the program from colleagues who say it has trumped any of the other continuing education programs in which they’ve participated. That is pretty high praise from colleagues who have been around for 20-plus years.”

The rabbi said he is especially looking forward to the opportunity to interact with talented peers and educators from different denominational backgrounds and to explore cutting-edge issues such as the challenges facing the Jewish community.

“Clearly synagogues must change and adapt in order for future generations to thrive. The program is a great opportunity to recharge and reinvigorate — to look for new ways to engage our community,” said Rabbi Sunshine.

Members of the Hartman Rabbinic Leadership Cohort spend approximately one month of their summers and one week each January at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem during the four years of the program. In between visits to Israel, they continue their studies through biweekly video conferences.

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