In 2007, the NAASE Board of Governors established an annual Book Award in honor of Rabbi William H. Lebeau, then-retiring Vice-Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Lebeau has been vital to the success of the NAASE Week of Study throughout its now-25-year history, and a staunch supporter, professional colleague, and resource to NAASE and to synagogue executives across North America for several decades. He has always spoken with great conviction of the vital partnership of congregational rabbis and executive directors in the truly successful congregation. He has spoken with equal conviction of the role of executive directors in encouraging potential leaders from their congregations to attend the Seminary and to become rabbinic leaders.
At the time of the Award’s creation, the NAASE Board of Governors set aside a block of NAASE’s financial reserves to create the investment corpus of the Lebeau Book Award Fund. The intention is to use $500 from this fund each year as a one-time award granted to a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in honor of Rabbi Lebeau. Candidates are selected from among those nominated by synagogue leaders across North America’s USCJ-affiliated kehillot, utilizing criteria that signify early signs of great passion, demonstrated effective commitment and leadership, and participation in diverse experiences in the panoply of Jewish communal service during the early years of their rabbinical school engagement. As one can imagine, a somber task faces the Award Selection Committee each year!
The award recipient is announced, and the grant is presented, at the annual NAASE Week of Study at JTS each June. Throughout its history, the Week of Study has been graciously co-sponsored by NAASE with the generous support of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Past Rabbi Lebeau Book Award Recipients
2007 Rabbi Anne Lewis
2008 Rabbi Noah Bickart
2009 Rabbi Ian Chesir-Teran and Rabbi Ariel Greenberg
2010 Rabbi Jeremy Fine
2011 Rabbi Efrem Reis
2012 Rabbi Yael Hammerman
2013 Rabbi Eric Woodward
2014 Ms. Elizabeth Cohn
2015 Ms. Leora Kling Perkins
2017 Ms. Miriam Liebman
NAASE extends a yasher koach to all our worthy past candidates and recipients, and best wishes for satisfying and impactful rabbinates.