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Rabbi Emeritus Gerald L. Zelizer

Rabbi Gerald L. Zelizer came to Congregation Neve Shalom, Metuchen, New Jersey in 1970 and served as the Congregation's rabbi for 45 years until 2015. Under Rabbi Zelizer’s leadership Neve Shalom has merged with two congregations. Since Rabbi Zelizer arrived at Neve Shalom, his Adult Education classes, participatory services, and relationship to the youth have been commended for their excellence.

A fourth generation rabbi, born in Columbus, Ohio (1938), he was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he also received a Masters in Hebrew Literature (1964). Rabbi Zelizer writes op/ed essays for USA TODAY where he has written over 70 essays on matters of religion and American society, including the topics such as religion and the media; His op/ed essays on religion and popular culture also appear regularly in the Newark Star Ledger. Other of his writings have been published in many journals and newspapers, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and major Jewish publications, including Judaism, The Jewish Spectator, The Reconstructionist and Conservative Judaism.  Rabbi Zelizer is currently instructor of homiletics of the senior class at the Jewish Theological Seminary. From 1992 to 1994 Rabbi Zelizer served as President of the International Rabbinical Assembly. From 1994-1999 he served on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which formulates religious policy for the Conservative Movement.   Since 2000 he has been a member of the Ethics Committee of the RA.

In 1980, Rabbi Zelizer established the Jewish Family Service of Middlesex County. From 1995 to the present, he has been a member of the New Jersey Committee for a moratorium on the death penalty, served on its Executive Committee, and interacted with the Governor and legislative leadership to achieve a moratorium in 2006. In 1999, he was appointed to the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey, which crafts public positions on social issues and dialogues with New Jersey’s Governor and Senators on matters of public policy. In 2006, the United Synagogue of New Jersey bestowed upon him the Keter Torah Leadership Award for distinguished rabbinic service.

Prior to his arrival in Metuchen, he served as Rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1964-1966), and Temple Israel in Union, NJ (1966-1969). (His wife Viviana, is a Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and their son Julian E. Zelizer, is Professor of American History and Public Policy at Princeton University.) Julian is married to Meg Jacobs, Associate Professor History at MIT. Julian has two children, a daughter, Sophia Miriam, born June 1, 2002, and a son, Nathan Solomon, born on December 26, 2003; Meg has two children, Abigail, born June 8, 2001; and Claire born February 19, 2004.

Sun, December 3 2023 20 Kislev 5784