Local rabbi selected for national program

Item by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

Local rabbi Joe Blair was among 18 rabbis nationwide selected to participate in the 2008-2009 STAR PEER Executive Leadership Program.

Joe Blair is the rabbi at Temple House of Israel in Staunton and Congregation Beth El in Harrisonburg.

“Today’s rabbis are expected to provide spiritual vision and leadership for their congregations and manage a complex nonprofit organization. The STAR PEER Executive Leadership Program combines practical knowledge with ongoing mentoring to build a bridge between the spiritual and practical components of rabbinic training,” said Rabbi Hayim Herring, the executive director of STAR, which gives rabbis of all denominations a year to study with world-renowned rabbis, sociologists and organizational practitioners to give them a footing in strategies for dealing with the challenges faced in contemporary American Jewish life.

“I applied because I knew this program would teach me additional skills and tools to serve my congregants and to bring more spirituality and meaning to light, to help make our tiny Jewish community an even more vibrant and exciting place to live,” Blair said. “I am delighted to be accepted into the STAR PEER program because I want to be the best rabbi I can, and do all I am able to make our small corner of the world a better place, both for those Jewish people living here, and for the larger community.”