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Comings and Goings: Reconstructionist rabbis pick gay leader, Kirschbaum leading ORT America

NEW YORK (JTA) — Some comings and goings in the Jewish community:

Rabbi Jason Klein, the executive director of Hillel at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, since 2006, was elected to lead the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Klein is the first openly gay leader of a major American Jewish denomination’s rabbinic association, according to the group.

Rabbi Joshua Davidson is the new senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in New York City. Davidson, formerly of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester, succeeds Rabbi David Posner, who has served Temple Emanu-El for 40 years.

Melissa Rogers was appointed a special assistant to President Obama and director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Linda Kirschbaum was elected to a three-year term as national president of ORT America. A member of Women’s American ORT for nearly 25 years in the Metropolitan Chicago Region, Kirschbaum served on the organization’s board of directors and executive committee.

Martin Nachimson of Los Angeles was installed as president of the Orthodox Union. He was chairman of the O.U.’s Synagogue Standards Commission. He succeeds Simcha Katz, who has been the O.U. president since 2010.

Zvi Jankelowitz was named director of institutional advancement at the Yiddish Book Center. He was director of institutional advancement at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Carol Silver Elliott started a two-year term as chair of the board of directors of the Association of Jewish Aging Services. Elliott has held senior management positions at Stamford Health System in Connecticut and the Jewish Home of Rochester, N.Y.

The Central Conference on American Rabbis selected Rabbi Richard Block as its new president. Block assumes the two-year term as president following eight years at CCAR in other elected offices.

Rabbi Pinchas Punturello was appointed the new emissary for the Shavei Israel organization in southern Italy and Sicily. Punturello, 36, served as rabbi of the Jewish Community of Naples, Italy, from 2004 to 2010, and was the small congregations activities coordinator for the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.

Denise Widman was elected president of the the Boston Jewish Film Festival by its board of directors. Widman has been involved with the festival for more than 10 years, most recently as vice president.

Itamar Rabinovich was named the president of a new unnamed institute to advance the study of modern Israel in the United States and around the world. Rabinovich is a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and was Israel’s chief negotiator in talks with Syria from 1992 to 1996.

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