By Judie Jacobson
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Rabbi Mark Dratch, former spiritual leader of Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, has been appointed executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest group of Orthodox rabbis in the world. He succeeds Rabbi Basil Herring who will now serve as editor-in-chief of RCA Publications.
Dratch comes to the RCA following a distinguished career in the pulpit rabbinate, education, and communal work. In addition to Stamford, he previously served as a congregational rabbi with synagogues in Toronto and New York.
He left Agudath Sholom in June 2005, after eight years, to head up the then newly formed Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment (JSafe), a non-profit educational institution that he founded to address the issue of domestic and sexual abuse within the Jewish community.
Upon leaving the Agudath Sholom, the congregation’s president, Howard Rothman, noted that “[Rabbi Dratch’s] exceptional level of scholarship and passion for important contemporary and difficult Jewish issues has left a positive makr not only on our congregatns, but on the entire greater Stamford Jewish community.”
In 2010, Dratch was named as one of Newsweek’s Top 50 Rabbis in America. He was ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University and holds Masters degrees in Jewish education and social work. Previously on the faculty of Yeshiva University as instructor of Jewish thought and philosophy, he has written extensively on issues concerning the interface between Jewish tradition and contemporary ethical issues.
“In Rabbi Dratch, The RCA is fortunate to have found a leader with great vision, skill, and experience,” said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA. “We are certain that his efforts will bring the RCA to even greater achievement in advancing the interests of the Torah world and in its service to its members and the greater Jewish community.”
Said Rabbi Dratch: “I am honored by the opportunity to serve the Orthodox rabbinate and Jewish community as executive vice president of the RCA and appreciate the confidence and support of my colleagues. I am humbled by the task of continuing the work and strengthening the mesorah (tradition) passed on to us by our predecessors and mentors, including Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, of blessed memory, and the many distinguished rabbis who have led our organization and shaped the contemporary Orthodox world. I look forward to working with my colleagues in strengthening the voice of Torah Judaism, enhancing our member rabbis’ ability to meet the day-to -day responsibilities of their rabbinate, shaping the lives of the members of our communities, and addressing the vital issues of the day.”