Before arriving at the Woodbury Jewish Center Rabbi Matt Futterman served as rabbi of Temple Beth El in Cedarhurst for three years where he succeeded in organizing a variety of engaging, challenging and innovative social and educational programs for adults including cooperative efforts with neighboring Conservative and Orthodox congregations and greater involvement with and commitment to Israel at the communal level.

During the previous six years Rabbi Futterman served the Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago as its first senior educator responsible for envisioning and achieving appropriate educational goals for all age groups of the congregation. His administrative experience as well as training in curriculum development, teaching and programming enabled him to grow the community of learners at all age levels from pre-schoolers through golden agers.  He also participated in developing the community’s strategic initiative and is especially proud of spearheading the synagogue’s relationship with African-American churches on Chicago’s south side.

While serving as the first rabbi of the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism in Fresh Meadows, New York (2004-2008) he devoted his energies to blending the cultures of three distinct synagogue communities into a single newly merged congregation through vibrant communal activities and creative educational programming.

The bulk of Rabbi Futterman’s rabbinate was devoted to Kehillat Netzach Israel in Ashkelon (1986-2004) where he not only served as rabbi of the Masorti (Conservative) congregation but was the primary visionary and founder of Ashkelon’s TALI educational program (which adds traditional Jewish content to the curricula of non-Orthodox Israeli schools).  Having taught hundreds of Israeli TALI students, parents and teachers he was eventually appointed the first official “TALI Rabbi” for several of Ashkelon’s elementary schools.  This honor was the product of years of partnering with the City of Ashkelon in promoting a meaningful Jewish educational option for students in Israel’s non-Orthodox public schools.

Prior to his aliyah, Rabbi Futterman was associated for many years with U.S.Y and Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.  He returned from Israel to the Berkshires camp as a head counselor and subsequently served as camp rabbi and scholar for Camp Ramah in Canada (2002-2004) where he especially enjoyed teaching and mentoring members of the staff.  

Rabbi Futterman received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1982 where he also earned B.A and M.A. degrees.  In 2010 he was awarded a D.D. degree (honoris causa) by JTS.  He earned three additional academic degrees from Columbia University: a B.A. degree from Columbia College (religion and psychology) and both M.A. and Ed.M. degrees in counseling psychology from Teachers College.  He specialized in family and school counseling as well as cross cultural counseling.

For two years he was a member of the faculty of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem where he taught the practicum and field work courses for Israeli rabbinical students.  He previously served as Dean of Students at Achva College near Kiryat Malakhi.

Rabbi Futterman served twice as the President of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel.  He was the co-chair for the 1998 international convention of the Rabbinical Assembly held in Jerusalem and chaired the 2004 convention also held in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Futterman was invited to be the JTS scholar-in-residence for the greater Detroit region of Conservative congregations, schools and other institutions in the fall of 2000.  The following year he similarly served as the scholar-in-residence for the Chicago Mid-west region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.  He was the primary consultant and editor of the English language teaching materials prepared for the “Ogdan Shelanu” kit of photographs depicting Jewish festivals and holidays in Israel published by PHOTODIDACTI under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.  He is the educational consultant for TALMA – a summer program sponsored by the ministry for Israeli elementary school students to improve their conversational English.

Rabbi Futterman and his wife Chana (a teacher at New York’s Abraham Joshua Heschel School) raised their children in Ashkelon – all of whom went on to serve in the Israel Defense Forces with distinction.  All are currently working either in Israel or New York.  They are the very proud grandparents of three gorgeous grandchildren. 

Rabbi Futterman’s decision to pursue a career as a Conservative/Masorti rabbi and educator in the U.S. and Israel was the logical outcome of his lifelong involvement with and passionate commitment to the Jewish people.