Since its founding in 1935 by alumni of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University and its merger, in 1942, with the rabbinic alumni of the Hebrew Theological College (Chicago, IL), the RCA has been led by outstanding rabbinic personalities, including its esteemed past presidents. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l was the RCA’s guiding spirit and mentor for decades, until his death in 1993.
Products of dozens of yeshivot in Israel, America, and elsewhere, the 1000 members of the RCA serve the Jewish world in 18 countries. Members serve as congregational rabbis; mechanchim; military, prison, and health care chaplains; community organizational professionals; academicians; kashruth, youth, outreach, and beit din professionals, and more. Our many members living in Israel are organized as the RCA’s Israel Region.
Furthering devotion to God, His people, and His Torah, the RCA for generations has played, and today continues to play, an integral role in Jewish life around the world:
- It provided material and spiritual support to Soviet refuseniks, was active in the United States Civil Rights movement, and fought for the legal accommodation of Shabbat observance in the United States.
- It helped to launch OU Kosher, and fought on behalf of shechitah and more humane treatment of animals.
- It was in the forefront of promoting mechitza usage and halachic standards in North American synagogues.
- It fostered improved observance of halachic burial and funeral rites, and conditions in Jewish cemeteries.
- It provides placement, career guidance, pension services, collegiality, and training to generations of rabbis and the hundreds of communities they serve.
- Its members build and sustain Jewish schools, mikvaot, synagogues, and reliable local kashruth supervision agencies throughout the United States.
- It provides intellectual leadership though its publication of Tradition, a Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought; Hadarom (1957-2005); and, its Sermon Manual (1943-1986).
- The new edition of the RCA siddur, Siddur Avodat Halev, was published in 2018 and reflects the needs of a new generation of committed Orthodox Jews. It builds upon the legacy of the familiar familiar RCA siddur, published in 1960 (de Sola Pool) and 1984 (Artscroll) editions that have been the staple of synagogues and Jewish homes for generations. Its Lifecycle Madrikh has given proper halachic guidance at innumerable weddings, funerals, and more.
- It steadily encourages productive citizenship among Jews, champions their rights everywhere, and provides religious leadership which firmly and unconditionally supports the State of Israel.
- It expresses to Jewish and general society the outlook of traditional Jewish law and thought regarding a wide variety of contemporary issues, including filing amicus curiae briefs in cases of significant judicial concern to the Jewish community.
- It works closely with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), serving as its rabbinic arm.
- It proudly hosts and works closely with the Beth Din of America (BDA) and advocates for widespread use of the joint BDA/RCA Halachic Prenuptial Agreement, which it helped to create.
- It maintains a strong working relationship with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Conference of European Rabbis, and other rabbinic and Jewish communal organizations throughout the world.
- It represents North America Orthodox Jewry in its relations with Israeli and American government officials and other bodies. Its voice at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations is heard clearly.
- It works together with the Catholic Church and other religious groups through the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation (IJCIC).
- To view the full RCA Constitution, click here.
Rabbinical Council of America Past Presidents
* = Deceased
Previous to the merger of the Hebrew Theological College Alumni with the Rabbinical Council of America in 1942, the following served as presidents of the Hebrew Theological Alumni, and are also considered to be past presidents of the Rabbinical Council of America:
- 1928-1930 Rabbi Louis J. Lehrfield*
- 1930-1982 Rabbi Simon G. Kramer*
- 1932-1934 Rabbi Uri Miller*
- 1934-1936 Rabbi Oscar Fasman*
- 1936-1938 Rabbi Manuel Laderman*
After the merger between the Hebrew Theological College Alumni and the Rabbinical Rabbinical Council of America, the following served as presidents of the Rabbinical Council of America:
- 1938-1940 Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein*
- 1940-1942 Rabbi Simcha Levy*
- 1942-1944 Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein*
- 1944-1946 Rabbi William Drazin*
- 1946-1948 Rabbi Uri Miller*
- 1948-1950 Rabbi Israel Tabak*
- 1950-1952 Rabbi Samuel Berliant*
- 1952-1954 Rabbi Theodore L. Adams*
- 1954-1956 Rabbi David B. Hollander*
- 1956-1958 Rabbi Solomon J. Shafran*
- 1958-1960 Rabbi Emanuel Rackman*
- 1960-1962 Rabbi Charles Weinberg*
- 1962-1964 Rabbi Abraham Avrutick*
- 1964-1966 Rabbi Israel Miller*
- 1966-1968 Rabbi Pesach Levovitz*
- 1960-1970 Rabbi Zev Segal*
- 1970-1972 Rabbi Bernard L. Berzon*
- 1972-1974 Rabbi Louis Bernstein*
- 1974-1976 Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld
- 1976-1978 Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger*
- 1978-1980 Rabbi Bernard Rosensweig
- 1980-1982 Rabbi Sol Roth
- 1982-1984 Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman
- 1984-1986 Rabbi Louis Bernstein*
- 1986-1988 Rabbi Milton H. Polin
- 1988-1990 Rabbi Max N. Schreier
- 1990-1992 Rabbi Marc D. Angel
- 1992-1994 Rabbi Moshe Gorelik
- 1994-1995 Rabbi Louis Bernstein*
- 1995-1997 Rabbi Rafael G. Grossman*
- 1997-1999 Rabbi Jacob Rubenstein*
- 1999-2001 Rabbi Kenneth Hain
- 2001-2003 Rabbi Heshie Billet
- 2003-2005 Rabbi Kenneth Auman
- 2005-2007 Rabbi Dale Polakoff
- 2007-2009 Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg
- 2009-2011 Rabbi Moshe Kletenik
- 2011-2013 Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
- 2013-2015 Rabbi Leonard Matanky
- 2015-2017 Rabbi Shalom Baum