By Cindy Mindell
NORWALK – After nearly 14 years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in Norwalk, Rabbi Ron Fish is leaving the pulpit when his contract ends in the summer.
The son of a Conservative rabbi, Fish graduated cum laude from Brandeis University in 1991 and was ordained in 1996 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He served as rabbi of Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh (now B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom) in Bloomfield from 1997 until taking the position at Congregation Beth El.
He has served as the president of the Norwalk Clergy Association and was the first president of the Rabbinic Council of Norwalk and Westport.
Fish is married to Leah Bieler, a Jewish educator and scholar who holds a Masters in Talmudic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. The Fishes have two daughters and two sons.
The synagogue board had hoped that Fish would renew his contract, discussing the option with him in May. After the High Holidays, Fish announced his decision to leave.
“We understand and respect that the Rabbi needs to do what he feels is best for his career and family at this time, and of course we wish Rabbi Fish, Leah and their family success in the future,” wrote Beth El president Keith Sutter in an email to congregants.
A rabbinical search committee is being formed, chaired by Beth El member Riva Silverman, who led the search that resulted in Fish’s appointment.
In an email announcing his decision to congregants, Fish wrote, “The Beth El we came to was in need of healing and a new start. In these years we have seen membership initially surge, with community outreach and programming of all kinds making our shul a magnet for the entire area. In recent years our demographic challenges have mounted, but we continue to be a place filled with unique vitality, lay engagement and meaningful learning.”
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