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Peter J. Rubinstein

Rabbi Emeritus

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(212) 838-5122 x1000

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein joined Central Synagogue as Senior Rabbi in 1991. Under his leadership and vision, Rabbi Rubinstein revitalized the congregation in all areas including liturgy, education, and organizational structure, bringing Central Synagogue into the 21st century. In 2014, he stepped aside as Senior Rabbi. In his current role as Rabbi Emeritus—along with being an active member of the congregation—Rabbi Rubinstein is a member of our Melton teaching team. Rabbi Rubinstein also works both locally and globally to further his commitment to Jewish life. He oversees the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life as the 92Y’s Director of Jewish Community as is a co-chair of the Black-Jewish Clergy Roundtable formed by the Attorney General and the American Jewish Community. He also co-chairs the Rabbi’s Round Table.

Rabbi Rubinstein graduated from Amherst College and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York where he received a master of Hebrew letters degree with honors. He received an honorary doctorate from Amherst College in 2017. Prior to joining Central Synagogue, he served as the rabbi of Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, New York, and at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, California.  Throughout his career, Rabbi Rubinstein has taught at Manhattanville College, Colgate University, San Jose State, and the HUC-JIR in both New York and Cincinnati. In addition to his professional affiliations and responsibilities, Rabbi Rubinstein is a founding chair of the Rabbinic Council of the World Union of Progressive Judaism and past chair of the Partnership of Faith in New York City. 

He is recognized as a leader in the changing face of the Jewish community and was ranked number 3 in Newsweek’s 2012 list of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis.” He was on the list since its inception.

His writing has been included in several books, including Our Rabbis Taught (1990), How Can I Find God (1997), Restoring Faith (2001), and Shine by Star Jones (2006). He coauthored “Innovation in All Generations” published in the CCAR Journal in 2016.

Rabbi Rubinstein is married to Kerry Rubinstein.