Richard Block

Rabbi Richard A. Block is President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing some 2000 Reform Rabbis in North America and beyond; it is the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism. As its president, Rabbi Block represents it on The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the Oversight Committee of the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Reform Movement's Pension Board. He served as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Block became Senior Rabbi of The Temple – Tifereth Israel in Cleveland and Beachwood, OH in 2001. In 2002, he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, “in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community” and United Jewish Communities honored him at that year’s General Assembly “for leadership and dedicated service to [his] community.” HUC-JIR conferred upon him an honorary doctorate in 2007 and, in 2008, Newsweek recognized him as “one of the top 25 pulpit rabbis in America.” The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Cleveland honored him as their 2012 “Man of The Year.” Rabbi Block was Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA, from 1987-1999, where his achievements included: a process of educational innovation that inspired a national partnership, the Experiment in Congregational Education; a nationally recognized program to integrate émigrés from the former Soviet Union in Jewish life; and the Koret Synagogue Initiative, a unique collaboration aimed at reinvigorating synagogue life. In 1999, he received the Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco’s “FAMMY” Award, “in appreciation of extraordinary caring and dedicated community service.” Rabbi Block was ordained and awarded a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters at HUC-HIR in Cincinnati, OH, in 1982, receiving numerous awards for academic distinction, writing, and sermonic excellence.  Upon ordination, he was chosen Rabbi of Greenwich Reform Synagogue, Riverside, CT. While in Greenwich, he served as the President of the Greenwich Fellowship of Clergy and was a founder of Jewish Community Services of Greenwich, a highly respected social service agency. In 1986, he received the Humanitarian Award of the Council of Churches and Synagogues of Lower Fairfield County, CT, for community leadership "worthy of esteem and commendation" that "made a significant difference in his community and in our whole region." Prior to his rabbinical studies, Rabbi Block graduated with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.  He was a law clerk to a US District Court judge and served on active duty in the US Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps, including terms as a Special Assistant US Attorney in San Diego and on the faculty of the Naval Justice School in Newport, RI. He and Susan G. Block, a community volunteer, have been married since 1969.  They have two sons, Joshua, 40, President and CEO of The Israel Project, and Zachary, 38, an executive at Outbrain. They are also blessed with two wonderful daughters-in-law, Kimberly and Rachel, and five delicious grandchildren: Jordan, Solomon, Jack, Walter and Marni.

Articles by Richard A. Block