Rabbi Churgel is a 2001 graduate of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He attended Rhea Hirsch School of Education where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education in 1999 and a degree of Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 1998. He did his undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles where he graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in psychology.
Rabbi Churgel comes to Sarasota from New York, The Reform Temple of Rockland. He and his wife, Shara Newman have three children; Daphne, Zoe and Jason.
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Letter from the Rabbi
Many years ago when I was an undergraduate student at UCLA, I engaged with several synagogues in the greater Los Angeles community as a religious school teacher, youth group advisor, and camp counselor. I had the good fortune to work with Rabbi Huntting at one of these synagogues, and I remember with great fondness some of our conversations at the time. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself succeeding him in a rabbinic pulpit…. in Florida….a quarter of a century later.
I am so honored to have been selected to follow Rabbi Huntting as Rabbi at Temple Sinai. Rabbi Huntting leaves behind an incredible legacy in a warm and vibrant community. I feel blessed, not only to follow in his footsteps, but also to have the opportunity to call on him as a colleague and mentor, and most importantly, to call him a friend. Geoff Huntting is a mensch, and the Sarasota Jewish community has been fortunate to have both him and Sue serve this community for so many wonderful years.
I am excited to be part of the clergy team serving with Chazzan Cliff Abramson. Chazzan Abramson’s energy, spirit and, of course, his voice has been invaluable to Temple Sinai since 2006, and I am overwhelmed when I envision the potential future he and I will craft together.
As Temple Sinai celebrates its first Quarter Century together, I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the next chapter of Temple Sinai’s history, and I am hopeful to be part of its 50th Anniversary celebration!
B’virkat Shalom – with blessings of peace,
Rabbi Michael S. Churgel, RJE