The Chief Rabbi of Nebraska: Rabbi Jonathan Gross
By Bayla Sheva Brenner
The richest man in the world lives in Omaha, Nebraska, according to a 2008 Forbes magazine report. Although the publication was referring to legendary investor Warren Buffet, Rabbi Jonathan Gross, rabbi of Beth Israel Synagogue, would ardently insist that the author really must have meant him.
The spiritual leader of Beth Israel since 2004, Rabbi Gross, who is in his thirties, wakes up each day thrilled with his calling. From the start, he jumped right into the heart of Jewish Omaha—a city with an overall Jewish population of 6,500—offering educational programs and youth initiatives that have sparked the interest of Jews across the spectrum. Since his arrival, the shul has grown by one hundred members, many of whom are children. Rabbi Gross says he intends to keep up the momentum and draw even greater numbers from the larger community.
Originally from Teaneck, New Jersey, Rabbi Gross didn’t plan on being a pulpit rabbi. He majored in math at Yeshiva University (YU) and after a brief, unsatisfying stint as an actuary, he thought he should “do something Jewish.” In August 2001, he participated in YU’s summer Torah Tours program, which sends students to various communities to inspire greater enthusiasm for Torah. Rabbi Gross’ tour took him to Omaha. He found the people friendly and saw real potential for growth...more... /repost from 1/19/10/
We salute our Teaneck favorite son for achieving recognition as a rabbi in Omaha. A certain young rabbi named Zev Goldstein (our dad) served as a clergyman in that town in the early 1940's.