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Rabbi michael torop

Rabbi Michael Torop has been serving as the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El, a diverse Reform congregation of approximately 400 families in St. Petersburg, Florida since 2001. Previously he served as the Associate Rabbi and Educator at The Community Synagogue in New York, and the Rabbi of the Leo Baeck Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Rabbi Torop is currently leading a paradigm shift that will transform the TBE community by creating a new model of congregational life (both on and off-site) grounded in meaningful engagement based on relationships, impact and meaning. His forward vision ensures that experimentation and innovation are core values underscoring his work. Rabbi Torop’s rabbinate is focused on creating connected and engaged communities of learning where Jewish life is explored intellectually and celebrated with joy and a sense of partnership with God. Central to his vision for Temple Beth-El is to create change and pursue justice in our local community, fixing what is broken in our world while becoming the best selves we can be.

After St. Petersburg Mayor Kriseman’s election in 2014, Rabbi Torop served on the Transition Team advising the Mayor-Elect. He is serving a second term as President of the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis, and he also co-chairs the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Services Committee of FAST--Faith and Action for Strength Together, an interfaith coalition working on local social justice issues. Rabbi Torop co-chairs the Advisory Board of Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services and Chairs the Trockey Student Loan Fund. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Palms of Pasadena Hospital. He has been a supporter of the Fair Food Program after visiting with and meeting the leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as is one of the “#TomatoRabbis”!

As a recognized leader in the St Petersburg community, he is able to call upon colleagues and officials to rally to causes of central concern. In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, Rabbi Torop organized an interfaith vigil to offer comfort to our local community and to stand in solidarity with victims of hate everywhere. Dozens of clergy colleagues answered the call to participate and over 1000 community members were part of the SRO crowd at the Temple that evening.

Rabbi Torop received his BA Magna Cum Laude in Political Anthropology and Legal Studies from Brandeis University (1984), his Master of Education Degree from Harvard University (1985), and his Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters (1989) as well as Rabbinic Ordination (1990) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). In 2015, he received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity from HUC-JIR, citing his achievements in the congregational rabbinate and community advocacy.

He is married to Rabbi Betsy Torop, Director of Rabbinic Engagement and Growth for the Reform Movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis. They have three adult children: Gideon, Aaron and Hannah. 


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Mon, November 23 2020 7 Kislev 5781