FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 : Rabbi Bob Orkand will lead Shabbat services at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 6:00 PM followed by his talk:WHAT MAKES JEWISH HUMOR JEWISH

Ordained as a Rabbi in 1973, Robert Orkand retired from the pulpit in June, 2013 as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Westport, CT, a Reform  congregation of over 850 families.   

 Rabbi Orkand served as Chair of the Human Services Commission of the Town of Westport, as President of United Way of Westport-Weston, and as President of the Westport-Weston Clergy Association.  In 1989 he received the Westport Chamber of Commerce “Community Commitment Award.”  In 1998 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2004 the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America awarded Rabbi Orkand its “Distinguished Citizen Award.”

 Rabbi Orkand served as Chair of the National Commission on Jewish Education for the Reform movement, on the National Camp Commission of the Reform Movement, the Publications Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Small Cities Committee of the CCAR, chaired the Program Committee of Eisner Camp Institute, served as the President of ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) and as Chair of that organization’s “Israel Matters” initiative. With ARZA, he traveled to Israel several times a year, as well as to numerous countries where there are liberal Jewish communities.  Rabbi Orkand has co-authored three prayer books for children: Gates of Wonder, Gates of Awe and A Children’s Haggadah.

 n addition, the Rabbi served as a member of the State and county boards of ADL, UJA/Federation of Westport-Weston-Wilton-Norwalk and on the Fairfield County Board of the National Conference of Community and Justice and as the International Rabbi of Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.

 Rabbi Orkand was a founder of CONECT, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a non-partisan, multi-faith organization of 28 diverse congregations in Southern CT, that come together as one community, to affect change in the areas of social and economic justice and policies for the common good and teaches at area synagogues and at several lifelong learning programs.