Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, spiritual leader of The Forest Hills Jewish Center, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1981. Immediately upon his ordination, he served as Assistant Rabbi under the late Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser for almost three years. With Rabbi Bokser’s death in 1984, Rabbi Skolnik assumed the rabbinic leadership of the congregation, and has served in that capacity ever since.
In addition to his responsibilities at The Forest Hills Jewish Center, the largest Conservative congregation in Queens, Rabbi Skolnik is involved in numerous communal activities. He is the immediate past President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the 1700-member international organization of Conservative rabbis, a Vice President of the Zamir Choral Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Masorti and Masorti Olami Foundations. A past president of the Commission on Synagogue Relations of UJA-Federation , past chairman of its Committee on AIDS and member of its Board of Directors, he also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, and the Board of Governors of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Skolnik has published numerous articles, and he is a featured weekly columnist for the New York Jewish Week’s online edition under the heading of “A Rabbi’s World.” He has lectured extensively throughout the world, and has appeared on national radio and television. His collaborations with the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble on “The Chanukkah Story,” “The Birthday of the World: Music and Traditions of the High Holidays,” and “A Taste of Eternity: A Musical Shabbat,” have received wide critical acclaim. These productions, commissioned by Public Radio International and featured on NPR, feature scripts written by Rabbi Skolnik, and read by Theodore Bikel, Leonard Nimoy, and Tovah Feldshuh.
Rabbi Skolnik is married to Robin Segal Skolnik, the Middle School Librarian at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan. They have four children: Rabbi Hillel Skolnik, who serves as the Rabbi of the Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation in Florida, and is married to Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik; Leora, a graduate of Barnard College who is married to Rabbi Yonatan Warren, a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Chaplaincy Corp, currently serving as the Jewish Chaplain at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis; Talya, who is living in Brooklyn and working as the coordinator of Health and Human Services in the office of the Borough President of Queens; and Matan, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, currently serving in the Peace Corps as an English teacher in the Republic of Guinea. They also have four grandchildren, Dafna Zahava, Liav Noam and Hadar Eliana, the son and daughters of Hillel and Sharon, and Calanit Batya, the daughter of Leora and Yonatan.
Click here to read Rabbi Skolnik’s latest sermons.