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Temple Bat Yam welcomes last of the visiting rabbis

Staff reports

One of Reform Judaism’s best known and most eloquent ethical social leaders and religious scholars, Rabbi Albert Plotkin of Phoenix, Ariz., will conclude Temple Bat Yam’s summer visiting rabbi program Friday, Aug. 6, at 7:30 p.m.

A rabbi for more than 50 years, Dr. Plotkin will conduct Sabbath services at the temple, 3260 Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe, as part of the guest rabbi program for the third consecutive year. Large crowds turned out for this internationally known rabbi the past two years and the same is anticipated this year.

In addition to serving as Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Israel in Phoenix, he is part-time rabbi of temples he started recently in Sedona and Sun Lakes, Ariz.

A graduate of Notre Dame University, Rabbi Plotkin is considered one of Reform Judaism’s most ardent spokesmen in areas of interfaith and interracial cooperation. Among his numerous credentials in this area are service on the national board of the Urban League and the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the latter of which presented him with its National Award for Brotherhood.

He also was a leader of the Martin Luther King Ad Hoc Committee, which led to creation of a holiday honoring the civil rights leader in Arizona after the state initially rejected it. He also served as a staff member of All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Phoenix, a board member of the Arizona Commission on Humanities, a board member of the Arizona Commission on Drugs and Alcoholism, on the Mayor’s Committee for the Homeless, the Governor’s Task force on Marriage and Divorce, the Governor’s Committee on Arizona Migrant Study, chaplain of the Arizona state Senate and chairman of the Religious Advisory Committee of the Phoenix Human Relations Commission.

He also is a renowned spokesman on ethical social religion, which is the subject of his latest book, “The Ethics of World Religion.”

Nationally known among Jewish organizations, he served as chairman of the Western Association of Reform Rabbis, on the executive board, the liturgy and music committee and as chairman of the Judaism and the arts committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, as chairman of both United Jewish Appeal and Jewish National Fund locally and nationally and in local and national positions with the Council of Israel Bonds.

The Plotkin Chair of Judaic Studies at Arizona State University is named in his honor, and he received a Distinguished Achievement Award and Honorary Doctorate of Law from ASU, as well as an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College.

A potluck dessert reception will follow services.