Birmingham, Metairie congregations say goodbye to rabbis, Konigsburg hired at Beth-El

This weekend, Beth Israel in Metairie says goodbye to the Topolosky family, and Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El honors Rabbi Michelle Goldsmith ...

This weekend, Beth Israel in Metairie says goodbye to the Topolosky family, and Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El honors Rabbi Michelle Goldsmith as she leaves the pulpit.

Beth-El announced this week that Rabbi Randall Konigsburg will become the congregation’s next rabbi. He and wife Michelle will be in Birmingham on June 10, so the congregational meeting scheduled for June 2 has been moved to June 10 at 7 p.m. so they can attend. There will be a reception welcoming them, and he will give a d'var Torah.

Rabbi Uri Topolosky is leaving Beth Israel after six years at the New Orleans-area congregation. He arrived as the congregation was looking for a permanent home, having been displaced when the flooding following Hurricane Katrina inundated their Lakeview building.


Under his tenure, the congregation met at Gates of Prayer, receiving international attention for the cooperation between an Orthodox and a Reform congregation. Beth Israel built its new facility next door to Gates of Prayer, dedicating it last August.

He will become the rabbi of Beth Joshua in Aspen Hill, Md. The Maryland congregation is housed in the Melvin Berman Hebrew Academy, which he attended from grades 7 to 12. They will be in New Orleans through the end of July.

The farewell weekend starts with a women’s Kabbalat Shabbat on May 31, honoring and thanking Dahlia Topolosky. It begins at 7 p.m. The men and women will have services separately, then meet for dinner. Reservations are required for the dinner.

On June 1, Shabbat morning services will be followed by a luncheon in the Topoloskys’ honor.

A New Orleans-style sendoff dinner is on June 2 at 5:30 p.m., with the community invited. The casual dinner is for adults, with reservations required. The dinner is $36 per person, with higher levels available and a “King of Carnival” level table of eight for $500.

Birmingham’s Beth-El will honor Goldsmith and Cantor Daniel Gale at Shabbat morning services June 1, with a luncheon following. Due to a schedule conflict, Gale will not be in attendance. Instead, he made parting remarks at Shabbat services on May 25.

Goldsmith will become rabbi at Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon, Va., a congregation that is well-known to many at Beth-El. After former Beth-El Rabbi Steve Glazer left in 1993, he became rabbi at Beth Emeth after two years at a New Jersey congregation. Beth Emeth is honoring Andrea and Rabbi Glazer for 18 years of service the weekend of June 14.

Goldsmith surprised the congregation at the end of last June's annual meeting by announcing that she would not seek a contract renewal and would be departing this summer. She has been rabbi of Beth-El since 2009.

Konigsburg will begin at Beth-El on July 1. Most recently he was chaplain for Hospice of Palm Beach County, Fla. He has been rabbi at Temple Emeth, Delray, Fla.; Temple Aaron, St. Paul, Minn.; and Temple Sinai, Hollywood, Fla.

Konigsburg is currently vice president of the Delray Beach Interfaith Clergy Association and the Palm Beach County Board of Rabbis, and an acting board member for Mercaz USA. He has written a book available online, “Revitalizing Synagogues.”

His daughter, Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, is associate director of rabbinic services at the Rabbinical Assembly.
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Southern Jewish Life: Birmingham, Metairie congregations say goodbye to rabbis, Konigsburg hired at Beth-El
Birmingham, Metairie congregations say goodbye to rabbis, Konigsburg hired at Beth-El
Southern Jewish Life
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