Rabbi David Kalb

Director, Learning and Innovation, Central Synagogue

Rabbi David Kalb is the director of learning and innovation at Central Synagogue. He is the first so-called 'Orthodox Rabbi' to serve in a senior-level position at a major Reform congregation. “So-called” because while Rabbi Kalb does in fact have Orthodox ordination and lives his own life according to halacha (Jewish Law,) he does not wear the label of any of the movements of Judaism.

At Central Synagogue, Rabbi Kalb directs and teaches a variety of different learning programs for a range of ages. Rabbi Kalb works and learns with the entire Jewish Community and beyond by linking tradition with modern experience. His goal is to bring Judaism into all aspects of life, believing that Judaism has to be a holistic experience that can operate in the real world. Rabbi Kalb approaches scholarship as a living part of Jewish experience.

In addition to his work at Central Synagogue, Rabbi Kalb is a member of the Ecumenical Advisory Board to the Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of the City of New York; an associate faculty member of CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and a senior rabbinic fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He is an international co-chair of Rabbis for Women of The Wall, and he is on the educational advisory board of the WNET/BBC documentary, The Story of the Jews.

Rabbi Kalb was one of the founders of Yavneh, a minyan on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and served as its rabbi for three years. He was a member of the Synagogue 3000 Working Group, a select group of Jewish leaders who are committed to the establishment of transformative spiritual communities. Before joining the staff of Central Synagogue, Rabbi Kalb served for four years as the director of Jewish education at 92nd Street Y.

Rabbi Kalb received his BA through the joint program between Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat. He has also studied at Hebrew University, Shalom Hartman Institute and the Meorot Fellowship.

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