Cheshire synagogue welcomes new rabbi

Rabbi Josh Whinston is the new rabbi at Temple Beth David/Tracy Simmons - CreedibleCHESHIRE – After leading Temple Beth David in Cheshire for 20 years, the renowned Rabbi Eric Silver has stepped aside and made room for new leadership.

He retired in June and on July 1 Rabbi Josh A. Whinston took the reigns.

Following his recent rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, Whinston moved to New York about eight months ago where his wife, Sarah, earned a job as a camp director. Whinston, 29, began looking for a job in the commutable area and said Temple Beth David caught his eye.

“There seemed to be a real warmth here,” he said, adding that the congregation’s transparency was appealing to him. “It seemed like the right kind of place for me.”

He said his plan, for now, is to get to know the community and learn what their needs are, though he does have plenty of fresh ideas – such as possibly hosting more Shabbat observances.

But with 210 families in the Temple Beth David community, Whinston said his main goal is meeting everyone and preparing to the High Holy Days, which begin on Sept. 9 this year.

Whinston, who, like Silver, strums his guitar throughout worship services, said one of his main focuses is prayer.

“I want people to experience warm, intense, serious prayer,” he said. “That’s what I’m going for…hopefully that’s reflected in worship.”

Whinston holds an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Masters in Hebrew Letters and a Masters in Jewish Education from HUC. He said he loves to travel, cook, golf and scuba dive. However, with a 5-month-old baby and a new home in Cheshire, the Whinston’s haven’t had much time for those things.

According to Alice Bauer, of the Temple Beth David’s publicity committee, the synagogue will host multiple events to give the community a chance to get to know the new rabbi. For information call (203) 272-0037.

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