The Temple Beth Shalom Rabbinical Search Committee has selected Rabbi James E. Egolf to lead its congregation, beginning July 1.
Egolf succeeds Rabbi Sheldon Ezring, who retired.
According to Temple President Kim Strausser, Egolf was selected by a rabbinical search committee consisting of the five executive board members, several interested trustees and eight congregants appointed by the executive board.
"Prior to the search, the entire congregation was invited to participate in focus groups and contribute ideas about what was important to us as a congregation in our search for a new rabbi. The congregation agreed that we want a rabbi who appreciates and respects us for who we are but challenges us to stretch our understanding of Judaism and our world," Strausser said. "It is important to the congregation that the rabbi is inclusive of our members, is interested in teaching both adults and young students and offers outreach to our members and community," she added.
Egolf will be relocating here from Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia where he served as Rabbi at Beth David Reform Congregation.
"I'm happy to have the ability to be in a smaller congregation," Egolf said. "I think this is a good fit."
Egolf, his wife Rebecca, and his two sons, Jeremiah, 13, and Joshua, 9, will me making their home in Solon. His wife has a master's degree in education administration and is a private day school consultant.
The new rabbi has served as chaplain resident at Phoebe Ministries, a nonprofit organization specializing in health care, housing and support services for senior citizens in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He also is in the chaplaincy program at St. Vincent's Hospital in Cleveland.
Egolf has a bachelor's degree from Temple University, a master's degree from Hebrew union College in Cincinnati where he was ordained, and a doctor of ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga.
Egolf said he is not coming to Temple Beth Shalom with specific missions in mind.
"The best missions are the ones the clergy and the congregation are driven to accomplish," Egolf said. "I just want to continue to keep the congregation thriving."
Which is a goal echoed by the congregation.
"With Rabbi Egolf as our spiritual leader, we look forward to the future as we continue to grow in our beautiful historic building," Strausser said.