Anshei Sfard names Golding acting rabbi
by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor
Congregation Anshei Sfard has hired Rabbi Joshua Golding to serve the congregation as acting rabbi. Under their current agreement, Rabbi Golding will serve in this capacity through November, at which time it will be decided whether to make this a permanent arrangement or to go a different direction.
This arrangement, Rabbi Golding explained, gives both parties time to evaluate the efficacy of the arrangement.
A Louisville resident for more than 20 years, Rabbi Golding is a long-time member and past president of the congregation, and over the years has been a regular part of the minyan, often leading parts of the service, serving as cantor, Torah reader and teacher.
A professor of philosophy at Bellarmine University, specializing in philosophy of religion and Jewish philosophy, Rabbi Golding carries a full teaching load and serves Faculty Council. Since his field of expertise is philosophy in religion, his service to Anshei Sfard dovetails with his scholarly work.
In addition, “Bellarmine has a long tradition of community service in its faculty,” he said. “Historically Bellarmine is a Catholic university and … many faculty play pastoral roles in their churches … [or] spend many hours devoted to community service.” The school also has a tradition of interfaith cooperation.
“Bellarmine President Joseph J. McGowan and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Carole Pfeffer have officially recognized my appointment,” Rabbi Golding said, “and have endorsed my assumption of this position.” He feels the two positions integrate well.
Rabbi Golding received his B.A., cum laude, in philosophy from the Columbia University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. He began his rabbinical studies at Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov in 2008-9, while he was Israel for his sabbatical. He continued his studies long-distance, and received his ordination in December 2011. He began his studies “for the sake of studying,” he said. “I had no pulpit aspirations.”
When Anshei Sfard and its rabbi of 25 years, Rabbi Avrohom Litvin, parted ways earlier this year, the congregation conducted a national search for a new rabbi. When the congregation was unable to find someone quickly, several congregants suggested that Rabbi Golding consider the post, at least temporarily. After taking the time to consider carefully, he accepted the position on a trial basis.
“This is something of an experiment,” he said. “I wanted to see how it would work out and I wanted the synagogue to see how it will work out.”
Both Rabbi Golding and Anshei Sfard President Dr. Roy Hyman stress the congregation is continuing to serve the community as a full service Orthodox shul. Services are held daily with morning minyanim weekdays at 7 a.m., on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and on Shabbat and the festivals at 9 a.m. Evening minyanim are held 20 minutes before sunset.
“There is a buzz in the shul itself about rejuvenating the congregation,” Rabbi Golding added. “We’re starting off on a new path and we hope to draw members and friends with classes and social events. Social get-togethers, such as the knitting class, will continue, but we’re also going to establish a once-a-month Sunday morning brunch and lecture, and I’m going to be giving some new classes.”
The congregation is also working closely with Yad Moshe, a group founded by Brian and Judy Wallace to do charitable work, to draw new people to Louisville to join the Orthodox community. Recently, Anshei Sfard and Yad Moshe collaborated for a successful Shabbaton program that incorporated learning with Rabbi YY Rubinstein and a job fair. (See story, this page.)
Their efforts are bearing fruits, as several families have already moved to Louisville or are in the process of doing so, and a number of others have expressed interest.
While there was some discussion earlier in the year about the congregation selling its current building, Rabbi Golding and Dr. Hyman both state emphatically that this is no longer under consideration.
In fact, the congregation now rents space to Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad for its after school and weekend classes. Yad Moshe is also making use of the congregation’s facilities for education purposes.
Rabbi Golding looks forward to the congregation playing an active role in the community and he looks forward to joining the Louisville Board of Rabbis and Cantors.
Rabbi Golding is the author of two books, Rationality and Religious Theism, a scholarly work published in London by Ashgate Academic Press in 2003, and The Conversation: A Novel, published in Jerusalem by Urim Publications in 2011. He is currently working on a third book, The Way of the Name: The Jewish Spiritual Path in Four (not so) Easy Steps.
He also has numerous peer-reviewed articles and reviews to his credit, and has lectured on a variety of topics in venues across the United States and Israel. Rabbi Golding has served on many university committees and helped the school with programs.
In the Jewish community, Rabbi Golding has taught classes at Anshei Sfard, including one this summer based on his current manuscript. He has taught in the High School of Jewish Studies, at the Louisville Jewish Day School, the Jewish Community Center’s adult education program and the Melton Adult Mini-School, and has participated in several community programs.
Rabbi Golding’s wife, Ayala, is an attorney with Borowitz and Goldsmith, PLC, in Louisville. A past chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, she continues to serve on its board and executive committee. She is a member of the Board of Jewish Family & Career Services and chairs its Personnel Committee.
The Goldings have five children, ages 21-11, Rafael, Rivka, Sam, Nathaniel and Vanessa.