Meet the first woman to head a rabbinical group

I have a story in today’s Journal News/LoHud about Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, a resident of the City of White Plains who on Wednesday will become executive vice president — the boss — of the Rabbinical Assembly.

The RA represents 1,600 Conservative rabbis around the world (1,200 or so in the U.S.).

She is believed to be the first woman to serve as chief executive of a rabbinical group.

Schonfeld is very bright, has a tremendous amount of energy and is brimming with ideas. And it’s a good thing. She gets the top job with the RA at a time when Conservative Judaism is antsy and not quite focused.

She will be an interesting figure to watch, I think, and will make her presence felt.

In an interesting quirk, she replaces the retiring Rabbi Joel Meyers, also of White Plains. Both Schonfeld and Meyers are members of Temple Israel Center of White Plains, one of the best-known Conservative congregations around.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.