Our Staff

At Central Synagogue

Peter J. Rubinstein
Rabbi Emeritus
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(212) 838-5122 ext. 1000

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 twenty-first 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 and sits on the board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

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.  Prior to joining Central Synagogue, he served as the Rabbi of Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, N.Y., 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 founder and Chair of the Rabbinic Council of the World Union of Progressive Judaism and Co-chair of the Partnership of Faith in New York City.  He is the Founder and Chair of the Rabbinic Vision Initiative aimed at the evolution of Reform Judaism in North America and he is a frequent lecturer on the role of a Rabbi now and in the future.  Rabbi Rubinstein serves on the Board of several prominent organizations including Auburn Theological Seminary of which he is the immediate past Chairman of the Board, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, UJA-Federation of New York, United Way of New York, and the Rabbinic Council of HUC-JIR.  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 has been 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).

Rabbi Rubinstein is married to Kerry Rubinstein.