Sunday, April 14, 2024 -
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Onward Rabbi Gerson

Rabbi Bernard Gerson, who concludes a 25-year pulpit career next month, has been honored by his synagogue and his flock. We should like to offer a different perspective and retrospective.

Rabbi Gerson played a major role in changing the tone of intra-rabbinic relations in Denver. His non-combative, unruffled style, which relies more on thought, kindness and scholarship than on emotion and public jousting, has been so effective that the confrontational style of the past has long faded. In significant part, Rabbi Gerson is responsible for that.

He has served more than one term as president of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, and in that position has guided the community rabbinic voice through many sensitive moments, such as when Israel was at war. Rabbi Gerson has quietly nurtured personal relationships with clergy of other faiths, serving as an address for questions and concerns. All this has been done without fanfare, and precisely on that account has been effective, with long lasting results.

Rabbi Gerson gets around, appearing in synagogues of other denominations when he has time, and always in a friendly, non-ideological way. He neither perceives slights where none are intended nor slights others, regardless of their religious commitments.

He has also extended himself beyond the synagogue walls by teaching for many years at Denver Jewish Day School and, simply, by opening his classes to others, whether they were members of Rodef Shalom or elsewhere.

Rabbinic leaders with a different style of community leadership are important. In the nature of things they command their own attention. The more laid back style of Rabbi Gerson deserves a nod of appreciation for its effectiveness. We gratefully offer that nod of appreciation here.

Now that Rabbi Gerson is about to undertake a new career in health management, we trust that his effectiveness in the rabbinate will readily translate to this increasingly important societal realm. We wish him, his wife Sue and his family all good luck as he steps ahead.

Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News

3 thoughts on “Onward Rabbi Gerson

  1. Ellen Bober

    I worked for Rabbi Gerson from the time he arrived in Denver until I retired in 2010. It was truly my pleasure. Everyone should be blessed with such an easy to work with boss. I drove 15 miles each way to Rodef Shalom from Arvada for 23 years, and never minded the commute because it was a great place with superior co-workers. Thank you, Rabbi, for being such a big part of my life. May you enjoy your new endeavor. The people you touch will be all the better for your being in their world. ❤e

  2. Tom Feldman

    I first met Rabbi Gerson not as a rabbi but as a fellow parent, watching our children playing in our neighborhood. I found him then as I do now: pleasant, down-to-earth and kind. I have over the years spent a fair amount of time with Sue and Bernie, and my fond feelings for them both have only grown stronger. Kindness, respect and decency are values I cherish and strive to uphold. That way of being comes so naturally to both of them. I am sure Bernie will be a great success in his new career. I wish him all the best. Fondly, Tom Feldman


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