Rabbi Stephen E. Slater will become head rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Bexley, succeeding Rabbi Mitchell Levine, who held the position from 2012 to 2020, and interim Rabbi Abigail Treu.
Slater was selected following a year-and-a-half search that included interviews with a leadership group co-chaired by the congregation’s incoming executive director and Brad Kastan, along with other congregants and clergy. Slater, who will begin in mid-July, was affirmed April 21 after a congregational vote, according to a news release.
He will move from Birmingham, Ala., with his wife, Bethany, and their two children.
Slater said in the release he is excited by the opportunity and was attracted to the synagogue in part by his positive impression of the congregants and the broader community.
“Bethany and I consider this a wonderful opportunity to come care for a lovely, historic congregation,” he said in the release. “We are attracted by the tightly-knit, deeply committed and highly knowledgeable Jewish community; the uncommon neighborliness of Bexley and Columbus; and the congregation’s desire for a dynamic rabbi to take a communal leadership role. The congregants gave us such a feeling of genuine warmth, devotion and energy that we can’t wait to become the rabbi and rebbetzin of this wonderful gem of a shul.”
Kastan said he believes Slater will help usher in a more vibrant Jewish experience.
“Our congregation’s future is so bright,” Kastan said in the release. “Engaging Rabbi Slater along with his wife, Bethany, and their family will bring energy and passion to Jewish life that Agudas Achim hasn’t experienced in a generation. Our goal should be nothing less than creating the best Conservative congregation in the Midwest.”
Meanwhile, Avi Allen, co-chair of the rabbinic search committee that chose Rabbi Stephen E. Slater, is taking over as executive director of Congregation Agudas Achim in Bexley.
Josh Ruben, chair of the executive director search committee, called Allen “clearly the best choice for our congregation,” adding “his enthusiasm for the position made the entire process a great success for our search committee. We know that Avi is going to be a wonderful asset to our shul,” Ruben said in a synagogue release.
Allen, his wife, Sarah, and their two sons have been members of the congregation since their move to Columbus two years ago. Allen, an attorney, was previously employed by Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Columbus.