(RNS) Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the largest Jewish congregational body in North America, has announced that he will retire in two years.
Yoffie, 63, has helmed the Union for Reform Judaism since 1996, presiding over about 900 synagogues with an estimated 1.5 million members.
His efforts have included working on interfaith relations, speaking before the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Churchwide Assembly in 2005, the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in 2006, and the Islamic Society of North America’s convention in 2007.
“My energy and enthusiasm remain undiminished, but I see 65 as an age when I should be taking into account the simple fact that there are burdens to this job and they cannot be borne forever,” he said in a statement.
“Even more important, I recognize the value of making way for new thinking in our future-oriented movement; leadership is an act of renewal and re-creation, and at a certain point, it is best to encourage others to try their hand at these tasks.”
Before stepping down, Yoffie plans to focus on improving Reform Jewish youth programs and establishing a center in New York that will also house the movement’s rabbinical association and seminary.
— Nicole Neroulias
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