Beth Tfiloh Congregation announced that Rabbi Chai Posner will succeed Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg as the Pikesville synagogue’s senior-most rabbi, as of Jan. 1, 2022. Rabbi Posner was approved by unanimous decision at a congregational meeting on Sept. 8.
Since September of 2010, Rabbi Posner has served as the associate rabbi of Beth Tfiloh, the nation’s largest modern Orthodox synagogue.
Rabbi Wohlberg, who was installed in the pulpit of Beth Tfiloh in May of 1978, will retire from full-time rabbinic duties when Rabbi Posner takes over and transition into the role of rabbi-in-residence through December of 2025.
Widely considered one of the best orators in the Baltimore metropolitan area and the Jewish world, Rabbi Wohlberg, 74, is also the dean of the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School.
In addition, he has been the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the Louis Z. Brandeis District of the Zionist Organization of America, the Fellowship Award from Bar-Ilan University, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and a scholarship was established in his honor at Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Wohlberg, who was selected as one of the area’s most powerful clergy members by Baltimore magazine, is internationally recognized for his insightful and far-reaching sermons, which are regularly posted on Beth Tfiloh’s website ( https://www.bethtfiloh.com/sermons–more/sermons).
Rabbi Wohlberg is the author of the books “The Un-Haggadah: How to Keep the Conversation and Wine Flowing at Your Seder” (CreateSpace) and “Pulpit Power: Meaningful Sermons on Religion & Politics and … Life” (Emek).
“In my four decades of leadership at Beth Tfiloh, I have had the opportunity on a daily basis to remind people of the joy of Judaism and nothing has brought me more joy, but times are changing,” Rabbi Wohlberg said in a statement. “It is time to transition to a new rabbi with new ideas, with new blood, someone who is able to reach the broadest element of our congregation on the one hand, and a younger and perhaps more religiously observant Jewish generation on the other. You’ve got that with Rabbi Posner.”
In his current role, Rabbi Posner leads services at Beth Tfiloh’s minyan and in the congregation’s Dahan Sanctuary. He also officiates at life-cycle events and teaches classes for adults at Beth Tfiloh’s Mercaz Dahan Center.
“Beth Tfiloh Congregation is, has, and always will be a thriving modern Orthodox synagogue,” said Rabbi Posner in a statement. “Throughout its nearly 100 years of existence, Beth Tfiloh has remained rooted in tradition while successfully adapting to the world around it. I look forward to keeping Beth Tfiloh the special place that it is.”
Before coming to Beth Tfiloh, Rabbi Posner served as a rabbinic intern with the Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, Ct., and the Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rabbi Posner holds a bachelor of arts degree in Judaic studies from Brooklyn College and was ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in Riverdale, N.Y. He also attended yeshivot in Israel.
He lives in Pikesville with his wife, Rachel, and their four children.
Rabbi Posner’s appointment as Beth Tfiloh’s senior-most rabbi came after a multi-year search process, according to congregational leaders.
Louis Schwartz, chair of Beth Tfiloh’s board of directors, said Rabbi Posner was the perfect candidate for the job.
“It was a unique privilege and a distinct honor to be a part of Beth Tfiloh history. This is only the fourth time during our nearly 100-year history that we have chosen a new rabbi,” he said. “This is an extremely exciting time for Beth Tfiloh and we could not have made a better choice than Rabbi Posner.”
Said Beth Tfiloh President Ron Davis: “After the search committee interviewed Rabbi Posner, it was our unanimous decision that Rabbi Wohlberg’s successor was under our own roof.”
Founded in 1921 in the Forest Park community, Beth Tfiloh today has a membership of more than 1,200 families and individuals.
The congregation’s first spiritual leader was Rabbi Dr. Samuel Rosenblatt, a noted Jewish scholar and son of the internationally celebrated Cantor Joseph “Yossele” Rosenblatt.