First gay head of rabbinic association

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Rabbi Jason Klein of Baltimore is the first openly gay man to head a national rabbinic association.

Klein was elected president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association at its just-concluded convention in New Orleans, held March 10 to 13.

Klein is the executive director of Hillel at the University of Maryland, where he has served since 2006. Before coming to Baltimore, he was the rabbi at Congregation Beth Emeth on Long Island, N.Y.

“Coming out and growing into my adult Jewish identity would not be the same were it not for affirming teachers, rabbis and other mentors along the way,” Klein said after his election. “I am honored to be able to give back by supporting colleagues who are creating welcoming communities in hundreds of settings across North America and beyond.”

“Rabbi Jason Klein brings to this important role in our movement a unique blend of tradition and innovation, and possesses a keen awareness of where the next generation of Jews will find meaning and connection,” said Rabbi Mychal Copeland of Hillel at Stanford. She is Klein’s colleague in the Reconstructionist movement.

Klein was born in New York City and raised in Montclair, N.J. He was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002 and received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 1997. — j. staff