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 Forest Hills Jewish Center, Rabbi Skolnik is involved in numerous communal activities. He is a past President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the 1700-member international organization of Conservative rabbis, the President of the Zamir Choral Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Masorti and Masorti Olami Foundations. He is a past chairman of UJA-Federation’s Committee on AIDS, and a member of its Board of Directors. Additionally, he is the past- Chair of the JWB’s Chaplain’s Council Plenum, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the JCCA. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Skolnik has published numerous articles, and he is a frequent blogger for the New York Jewish Week online edition with the Times of Israel. 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 Tifereth Israel Congregation in Columbus, Ohio, and is married to Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik; Leora, a graduate of Barnard College who is married to Rabbi Yonatan Warren, a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Chaplaincy Corp, currently serving in Norfolk, Virginia; Talya, who attended Barnard College and is married to Adam Dicterow, living in Brooklyn and working for the Center for Court Innovation as a case manager; and Matan, who, after graduating from the University of Michigan and serving in the Peace Corps as an English teacher in the Republic of Guinea for two-and-a-half years, worked for the Tamer Institute for Social Enterprise in the Business School of Columbia University, and is now attending NYU Law School.
Rabbi Skolnik and Robin have five grandchildren, Dafna Zahava, Liav Noam and Hadar Eliana, the son and daughters of Hillel and Sharon, and Calanit Batya and Meirav Zemer, the daughters of Leora and Yonatan.
Click here to read Rabbi Skolnik’s latest sermons.