Following the sudden resignation of Rabbi Steve Fisch a week ago, Congregation Beth El Binah has contracted with Rabbi Steve Gutow, one of the most prominent rabbis in the U.S., to conduct High Holiday services.
The High Holidays are Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which begins on Sunday night, Oct. 2 and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, which begins on Tuesday night, Oct. 11.
President Barack Obama called Rabbi Gutow “outstanding” last year as he appointed him to the President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
For two years in a row, Rabbi Gutow was listed as #20 on Newsweek’s list of most distinguished rabbis in the U.S.
“It’s exciting to be part of a community that cares so deeply about the holidays,” Gutow said. “When invited, I was honored to say yes and I look forward to spending the holidays with such a terrific group of people.”
Gutow, a Dallas native, attended several Beth El Binah events in the 1980s and as a rabbinical student, led services for the congregation several times in the ’90s.
“I’ve participated with this congregation before, so I feel like it’s home to me,” Gutow said.
After participating in Ann Richards’ election as governor in 1990, Gutow went to Washington to organize the National Jewish Democratic Council. After a five-year stint with that organization, as well as leading the Texas Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 1996. Gutow attended and graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Penn. In 2003 and he served a congregation in St. Louis for two years.
Gutow became executive director, then president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, where he served until 2015. During his tenure, he created Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign to increase the Jewish community’s participation in climate change and energy debates, combated hunger in America by launching the There Shall Be No Needy Among You initiative and expanded the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
He is an executive committee member of the Save Darfur Coalition and was arrested with George Clooney and others at a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
He has served on the state board of the Texas Civil Liberties Union and the national board of the American Jewish Congress.
Tickets for Beth El Binah’s High Holiday services are available by contacting the congregation through its website.