RABBI Daniel Rabin of the North Eastern Jewish Centre (NEJC) has been appointed as the new president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV).
Rabbi Rabin, who has served as vice-president of the state’s rabbinic roof body for the last two years, was elected unopposed at the RCV’s annual general meeting on Monday. He succeeds immediate past president Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick.
“I feel very honoured that my colleagues felt the confidence to elect me into this position,” Rabbi Rabin told The AJN.
“I feel humbled as well taking the helm from Rabbi Gutnick, who is one of the senior rabbis in the community and a man of great wisdom.”
Prior to his post at the NEJC, Rabbi Rabin worked as a chaplain on university campuses across Melbourne. He currently serves as the rabbinic liaison to the Community Security Group, and holds a Masters Degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Rabbi Rabin said he is excited to take on the role, and hopes to make strides in a variety of areas.
Speaking highly of the RCV’s professional development processes, he said he plans to “continue to strengthen” these offerings, both in terms of supporting rabbis in best serving their congregants, and in advancement of Torah studies.
He added that he places great importance on consulting with his colleagues in order to ascertain what they need in this regard.
“I’m very involved on the ground level, speaking to the various rabbis in the community,” he enthused.
Moreover, he intends to work with the Melbourne Beth Din to create a more user-friendly conversion program, as well as hone in on interfaith initiatives.
“Part of our role as community leaders is to try and engage with other faith groups. I really want to be a lot more proactive in that regard,” he noted.
“If it starts at the top with the rabbinical council, we can work on having a more harmonious community.”
The incoming executive includes Rabbi Ralph Genende as vice-president, Rabbi Yirmi Garfunkel as treasurer, and Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn as secretary. Rabbi Rabin lauded the team, noting there are a number of young committee members who come with slightly different visions and energy.
He also praised RCV executive director Rachel Mihalovich, and thanked the Victorian government for its ongoing support.
Ultimately, he said he would like to see the RCV as “a known entity within the community”, and a place where religious leadership is shown in a positive light “with transparency and -consultancy”.
“I don’t want rabbis to be sitting on a pedestal … I hope when people think of Orthodox rabbis, the feeling they leave with is something positive,” he said.