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Clergy

Throughout its history, Congregation Beth Israel has been blessed with outstanding spiritual leaders. Today, CBI's distinguished clergy, consummate professional staff, and engaged lay leadership mirrors the diversity and strength of this vibrant congregation.
Rabbi Thomas A. (Tom) Gutherz, Senior Rabbi Rabbi Tom Gutherz became Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in 2016 after serving as its Rabbi Educator for 11 years. He was ordained in 1993 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and has over 40 years of experience in formal and informal Jewish education.  
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Rabbi Tom grew up in Rochester, New York. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1977. He was an active member of Habonim, the Labor Zionist Youth Movement, serving as it National Secretary (mazkir) in 1977-1978. Rabbi Tom was the Camp Director of Camp Naaleh and Camp Tel-Ari, both in upstate New York. He made aliyah to Israel in 1986, where he was a member of Kibbutz Gezer. On the kibbutz, Rabbi Gutherz worked as an educator in the kindergarten and primary grades, as well as in the dairy barn. 
Upon ordination from HUC-JIR in 1993, Rabbi Gutherz served as Rabbi of Agudath Sholom Congregation in Lynchburg, Virginia for 13 years. He taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of Religion at Lynchburg College and was active on the board of the NCCJ (National Conference of Christians and Jews), especially with its Metrotown diversity training program. He earned a Masters in Hebrew Literature degree from HUC-JIR in New York  (1993) and a Masters of Arts in Religion from the University of Virginia (2012).
Rabbi Gutherz is committed to providing quality Jewish programming, education, personal enrichment, and social activities for congregants of all ages, backgrounds, and worship styles. He is passionate about Jewish text study and eager to engage with people at whatever point they find themselves on their spiritual journey. He loves wine, all kinds of music and (good) films, and is a long-time practitioner of Tai-Chi. 
 
Rabbi Daniel Alexander, Rabbi Emeritus
 
The Board of Directors of CBI awarded Rabbi Daniel Alexander the title of Rabbi Emeritus following his retirement after his 28 years of rabbinic service, from 1988 -2016. Before coming to CBI, Rabbi Alexander had been the Executive Director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Virginia from 1979 - 1988. He has also been a part-time Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at UVA and frequently has taught for the Chaplaincy Services of the UVA Health System and for gatherings at churches, schools, and civic organizations in the region.
 
Rabbi Alexander received his rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1979 and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by HUC-JIR in 2004. In 2002, he received a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Wesley Theological Seminary. He completed a two-year training in Jewish Spiritual Direction in 2007 under the auspices of the Morei Derekh Program and completed the Rabbinic Leadership Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality in 2011. He engaged in several programs of training and practice with the Mussar Institute and has regularly attended the summer Rabbinic Torah Seminar of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
 
Since retiring from full-time rabbinic service, Rabbi Alexander has continued to provide back-up coverage for Rabbi Gutherz, give sermons, present Divrei Torah, lead worship, teach classes, and oversee lifecycle rituals to supplement the work of CBI’s active rabbis.
 
Retirement from active rabbinic service has opened up new avenues for volunteer engagement. Besides continuing to teach church and other groups, Rabbi Alexander’s recent volunteer efforts have included: serving as a representative on Sponsoring/Steering Committee, Care for Creation, an environmental justice initiative of the parent organization of the Interfaith Movement of People Acting in Congregations Together [IMPACT]; serving on IMPACT’s Strategy and Research Committees for its Care for Creation work; as a Court Appointed Special Advocate [CASA] for children placed into foster care. He has been the Vice -president of Programming for the Greater Carolinas Association of Rabbis and has begun a one-on-one Spiritual Direction practice.
 
Rabbi Alexander has undertaken several writing projects during retirement. In 2022, the volume Torah Without End: Neo-Hasidic Teachings and Practices in Honor of Rabbi Jonathan Slater included his chapter on Parashat Re-eh. His review of two books of theology, The Tragedy Test by Richard Agler and The Mystery of Suffering and the Meaning of God by Anson Laytner, was published in the Fall/Winter 2021 edition of The Journal of Reform Judaism. The Mussar Torah Commentary, a book named as a finalist for a 2020 National Jewish book award, includes a chapter he authored. Still underway, Rabbi Alexander continues to edit the Yom Kippur presentations on the Book of Jonah delivered by congregants at CBI every year since 1988. A published anthology is the goal.
 
Since their retirement, Rabbi Alexander and his wife have been blessed by the birth of four grandchildren and by the marriage of their son. These blessings and the continued blessing of living among friends in Charlottesville fuel their ongoing gratitude.
Thu, February 2 2023 11 Sh'vat 5783