Rabbi Eric Yoffie
President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism
“Rabbi David Wolfman worked for the URJ for the entire time that I served as President. He knows synagogues as well as anyone in North America, and was masterful in supporting congregational activities, advising rabbis, dealing with crises, and mediating disputes. His mentschlikeit and organizational expertise make him an extraordinary asset in any organizational setting. I recommend him wholeheartedly.”
Rabbi Lenny Thal
Senior Vice President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism, CCAR Placement Director
“It was my good fortune to work closely with Rabbi David Wolfman during my many years as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism. During that time I observed first hand (and about which I frequently heard second hand) his interactions with congregations. He was consistently dedicated to the task of enabling congregational leaders (lay and professional) to prompt their synagogues to become the very best that they could be. The adjectives that come to mind when I recall David’s work would include: insightful, inspiring, creative, astute, stimulating, provocative, reassuring, sensitive, responsive and menschlich – ALWAYS menschlich! In short, his professionalism and his obvious love for the synagogue as the most important institution in Jewish life comes through clearly to all with whom he has worked and counseled.”
Rabbi Jodie Gordon
Rabbi and Education Director, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire
Working with David absolutely transformed my rabbinate, and our clergy team. Our congregation reached out to David to help us through a period of crisis. During that initial period of working together, I was consistently amazed by David’s ability to guide us through difficult conversations with compassion and care. Perhaps more importantly, in those early sessions, David’s easy demeanor combined with his vast and varied professional experience instilled a sense of absolute trust on our part. I now count David as an essential mentor and coach in my work, who continues to be able to step into situations and quickly discern the essence of the “problem” and provide workable solutions for moving forward.
Rabbi Daniel Bar-Nachum
Temple B’nai Torah, Wantagh, NY
Working with and learning from David has been a great help to my rabbinate. We began working together to refine the skills and background needed to shepherd a congregation through a deconsecration and a synagogue merger. David’s experience and expertise in transition, grounded in how he makes Torah and tradition real and relevant to these situations, allowed me to guide the congregation with confidence and pastor to them appropriately through situations that are not covered in seminary courses. David is patient, compassionate, and knowledgeable about the workings of congregations, congregants, and rabbis. He was able to help me grow as a Rabbi and leader and incorporate my ideas and understandings into his lessons and advice. In addition, I am glad to have David as a trusted advisor when a situation arises that I need to talk through or process. He makes himself available and no matter what has happened, he comes from a place of kindness and curiosity, eschewing judgment. My rabbinate has been made stronger and more self-assured thanks to my working with him.
Rabbi David Vaisberg
Senior Rabbi, Temple B’nai Abraham
David has been a vital part of my transitioning into my new position as senior rabbi. He’s coached me brilliantly and supportively through the processes of transitioning between two synagogues different in so many ways and supported me in the personal challenges that come with the rabbinic transition as well. In this new community, he’s been instrumental in guiding me to develop a strong sense of camaraderie and partnership among the senior staff, and he’s helped me get through the most challenging 14 months of my rabbinate in the pandemic. David is an absolute gift to a rabbi and their congregation.
President Temple Israel, Canton, Ohio
Our congregation has successfully navigated the arrival of a new rabbi, a 16-month building closure, and the challenges of leadership succession thanks in large part to the counsel of Rabbi David Wolfman. His acknowledgement of what we were losing and gaining throughout this year and the questions that he posed allowed for seamless transitions for the rabbi and for the Temple family. From virtual worship and education experiences to social justice and caring community work, Rabbi Wolfman helped our board and our Rabbi live our newly articulated “Why” statement.
President, Congregation Kol Ami, Salt Lake City, UT
Rare is the person you work with who comes along with such skill, integrity and warmth that you wish that they were in your circle of friends and family. David and I became fast friends during my pandemic-infused presidency at Congregation Kol Ami, and our occasional Zoom meetings were a true battery-recharging highlight of my volunteerism. Not only was this nurturing professional adept at tapping into my spirituality, but his acumen for the business side of running synagogues was a vocation I used as a priceless assistant.
Past President, Congregation Kol Ami, Salt Lake City, UT
Rabbi David Wolfman…extraordinary coach and counselor! I worked with Rabbi Wolfman alongside my co-president and our new Rabbi. The relationship was encouraged by our new Rabbi and what a great suggestion. Rabbi Wolfman helped us and our board navigate a transition with our new rabbi and he did so with encouragement, patience, empathy (expressing to us how difficult life has been on rabbis nationwide during COVID). Rabbi Wolfman introduced us to methods and tools to use that made for a comfortable and smooth transition. He was available for short and lengthy consultations, and always made us, the volunteer feel appreciated for doing holy work. His encouragement was invaluable. Even if a congregation isn’t experiencing “issues”, having Rabbi Wolfman as a resource, a confidant, and friend to help support a process is well worth the time. From day one, I felt at ease with Rabbi Wolfman and a trusting relationship was founded within minutes of our first meeting. Every congregation needs a Rabbi Wolfman…even if it is only occasionally.
President, United Hebrew Congregation, Singapore
Rabbi Wolfman, in short, is a mensch and a lovely guy. He very graciously took on the role of transition consultant for me, for our new Rabbis and during the 2020/21 season, possibly one of the most unique and difficult periods in our congregation’s history.
Every interaction with Rabbi Wolfman is informative, cathartic and calming. He is a wealth of knowledge, charisma, patience and maybe best of all, applicable stories and anecdotes. I am very thankful to have met Rabbi Wolfman (I know he would want me to call him David but here I think he deserves his professional title) and I hope that we have developed a lasting relationship.
I will add in closing that most of all, I look forward to meeting with David (for you Rabbi), in person and over a great bottle of red wine, reminiscing about our “professional” engagement, knowing that our Rabbis have been formally installed, that we have weathered the COVID-19 period successfully and that UHC Singapore was all the better for it all.
Rabbi Andrea Berlin
Chair CCAR Ethics Committee and Principal, Berlin Consulting LLC
“David is one of the best at what he does. His intuition helps him diagnose issues, his experience and training offer clear next steps, and his compassion makes his feedback easy to hear… As a rabbi, consultant and a coach, David is at the top of his field. He is priceless!”
Owner, Mersky, Jaffe and Associates
“There is no one who understands the issues of transition in the non-profit setting than David. He brings sensitivity and keen insight to both professional and volunteer leadership so that the organization can go through some of the most difficult transitions is the most effective way.”
Past President of Congregation B’nai Shalom Westborough, MA; Trustee, Union for Reform Judaism
“Once again, David showed me his strength as a rabbi, leader, listener and facilitator during a crisis in confidence at our synagogue. With his stories, charts and explanation, he was able to lower the tension in the room so our members and lay leadership could listen to each other. Our movement is so fortunate to have Rabbi Wolfman as one of its leaders. Thanks again for your warmth, caring and assistance as we move through this transition.”
Rabbi Aaron Meyer
Temple Emanuel of South Hills Pittsburgh, PA
Rabbi David Wolfman has been invaluable to Temple’s rabbis, staff, and lay leadership: helping us work through challenges, connecting us to national context and best practices, and serving as a learned sounding board. David’s understanding of the contemporary rabbinate and the myriad issues faced by congregations makes him the ideal coach and consultant.
Professor, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, OH
“David is a person of enormous talent and even greater integrity. I recommend him in the most complex, most delicate cases of congregational system dysfunction. I trust his judgment and rely on his experience. In his area of expertise, developing symbiosis and synergy between rabbinic and volunteer leaders, I know of no one I better than David. If I were in difficulty as a congregational rabbi, I would put myself in his hands.”
Rabbi Justin Kerber
Temple Emanuel, St. Louis, MO
“I have worked with Rabbi David Wolfman both as the Director of Hillel at the University of Georgia and in my current capacity as the Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, a solo pulpit in St. Louis, MO. In both cases, I’ve found him to be a source of very strong advice and good counsel, a listening ear and a supportive shoulder, even a beacon of light in dark circumstances. I am convinced of his wisdom and thoughtful judgment, his kindness and his mentschlikhkeit — the quality of being a just and decent human being. I would recommend working with him enthusiastically and without reservations.”
Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell
Author, Scholar and Spiritual Director
“David did a superb job planning and executing a fast-paced, well conceived, and very intentionally run meeting. The materials he developed and presented were excellent, but most impressive was the integrity between the information and approaches presented and the modes and models of presentation. David is a master presenter because he lives the truths he is teaching. He deeply believes that transition management is an essential key to the ongoing health of institutions, and is able to transmit that commitment, and requisite skills and approaches, to those of us fortunate enough to study with him. David ably planned participant materials, exercises and exchanges, skillfully balancing large and small group sessions with more intimate dialogue opportunities between the rabbi/lay leader partnerships. I was privileged to observe David’s teaching.”
Rabbi Rex Perlmeter
Special Advisor for Member Support and Counseling, CCAR
“David Wolfman understands the inner workings of institutions and organizations the way an engineer understands and can visualize the internal operations of a complex machine. He brings laser-sharp insight into every situation in which he is asked to intervene. He exercises that insight compassionately and honestly, helping those systems and the individuals involved in them to understand themselves, their challenges and their opportunities to grow and to thrive. He is amazingly enthusiastic for any task he undertakes and demands excellence of himself and others because he believes in the capacity for that excellence. He has paired his immense talent with well-honed skills. He has been of invaluable counsel to me during and beyond the time of our work together. I recommend him with the heartiest support and excitement for all who will avail themselves of his services.”
Owner, LAM & Associates
“David is both a leader and a learner. His vast knowledge of systems, history, and his craft coupled with his skills in dealing with people made for creative, productive and joyful endeavors. David surrounded himself with people with different skills and experiences, learning from them and always encouraged new ideas. His energy and commitment inspired those he worked with.”
President, Temple Emanuel, Worcester, MA
“I had the great fortune of working with Rabbi David Wolfman when our congregation went through two life-changing events, the sale of our building and the integration with another Reform synagogue. The sale of the building proved to be the more difficult and emotionally driven event and Rabbi Wolfman worked with my co-president and me on a myriad of issues related to the sale. He coached us through responses to difficult communications, creation of appropriate meeting agendas and was there as a strong listener. Rabbi Wolfman greatly impacted the membership by joining us for an important meeting to discuss the building’s sale. From the beginning of that critical meeting, he was able to refocus the conversation through the lens of Jewish values, which dramatically altered the tenor of the meeting. Everyone who attended that meeting, regardless of his or her opinion about the sale, felt that Rabbi Wolfman’s presence had made a difference. Working with Rabbi Wolfman was a joy for me. I felt strongly supported by him and greatly benefitted by his guidance and counseling. Rabbi Wolfman is the true definition of a mench.”
Rabbi Brian Zimmerman
Former Rabbinic Director, South Geographic Network, URJ
“I have had the special privilege of working with Rabbi Wolfman in many tense situations. Quite simply, when it comes to issues of change, transition and conflict resolution, Rabbi David Wolfman is a Jedi master. Period!”
Vice Chair, World Union for Progressive Judaism
“Rabbi Wolfman worked with us by facilitating an initial leadership meeting for our newly formed North American Advisory Board. David was critical to the success of the weekend meeting, ensuring that we prepared properly and guiding us to reach results and make decisions in a thoughtful way. The participants were all veteran leaders in the Reform Movement, so his ability to suggest, guide and enforce was all the more impressive! As Chair of the group, this did not surprise me in the least, as David had guided and advised my large urban congregation several years earlier (when he worked at URJ) through a very challenging transition process. David is not only one of the leading experts in North America on congregations, but he is a phenomenal and thoughtful advisor, coach and facilitator. He stands out among many capable professionals with whom I have worked.”
United Hebrew Congregation of Singapore
“Outstanding leadership, teaching and wise council from a man who exudes passion for his work and an uncommon level of professionalism in his delivery. Rabbi Wolfman bound our community together in an extraordinary way, with a multi-talented delivery of Torah, teaching and transition coaching, all wrapped up in elevating music and with a host of perfectly-judged stories along the way. Mindful of both honouring tradition and the need for personal and community growth, Rabbi Wolfman has provided our community with a great opportunity to think about and shape our future, and has prepared us to welcome our first full-time Rabbi in the new year. I heartily recommend him and look forward to his return.”
Rabbi Eric Mollo
Temple Chayai Shalom, Easton, MA
“Words fall short of adequately describing the benefits of Rabbi David Wolfman’s wisdom and friendship. Transitioning from rabbinical school to the first year of my rabbinate, I faced many challenges that are unique to the growing pains of change within a system. David’s reassuring calm, ability to reframe difficult situations, and capacity for teaching strategic models for conflict resolution and visioning have been invaluable assets. Whether you need assistance with challenging situations or you are looking to take that next step forward in your rabbinate, look no further. Trust in my friend, coach, and rabbi, Rabbi David Wolfman, to provide you with the tools for success.”
“David has been an incredible coach to me throughout this year. He has incredible wisdom and insight into the synagogue, how it function, my role, board roles, mission, vision and more. Not only does he understand the the big picture, he is extraordinary at building a process with me for getting from where my congregation is to where our congregation wants to be. I am grateful for his time, wisdom and expertise!”
Rabbi Emma Gottlieb
Temple Israel Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation
“I feel so fortunate and blessed to have David as a coach. In less than a year of working with him, I can track important changes in myself and my rabbinate. David’s confidence in me has helped me to feel more confident in myself, and his honesty and feedback have helped me to do some deep thinking and working on areas where my rabbinate needed attention and growth. David has supported me as I navigate the highs and lows of being a solo congregational rabbi working in a smaller congregation. He has helped me to feel less lonely, more focused and more well-rounded. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow under his gentle care and guidance.”
President, Beth David Reform Congregation, Gladwyne, PA
“I have the great fortune of working with David during my Presidency in helping our new Rabbi transition. He is our consultant, guide, problem solver, and sounding board. David provides wonderful insights and experience to help our congregation navigate the challenges of making our new Rabbi a part of our community. He works with lay leaders as well as staff and has the wonderful ability to really listen to everyone’s story. He is reflective and thoughtful in responses and makes each of us feel truly “heard” and respected. David is also a wonderful resource and makes us aware of opportunities for seminars, readings, and conferences to further support us. I look forward to my private conversations with David as I always feel better for the experience. He is an active listener and provides practical honest advice which is to the point and helpful. I finish each conversation with a smile on my face and feeling enriched from the discussion. I look forward to working with him throughout the entirety of my Presidency.”
Past President, Shaaray Tefila of New York City
“When we started looking for a consultant to assist us with a rabbinic transition, David’s name was at the top of everyone’s list—and for good reason. David possesses a unique combination of knowledge and experience with change and transition in the Jewish world, plus highly cultivated people skills and, on top of that, a calm and reassuring manner. All of these ingredients together made him an invaluable resource for our Search Committee, Board of Trustees, Staff and the leadership teams that consulted with him regularly. I recommend him without reservation for the tremendous value he brings to the complex and sometimes highly charged dynamics of change and transition.”
Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow
Shir Hadash Synagogue, Wheeling, IL
“Rabbi David Wolfman is a talented and knowledgeable consultant and teacher. He guides with sensitivity, compassion, and caring. He teaches with sound fundamentals, professionalism, and attention to detail. Rabbi Wolfman is a respected coach and an indispensable resource to our congregation and its leadership.”
Rabbi Dena Shaffer
Congregation Beth Israel, West Hartford, CT
“David came to our congregation to work with our staff and lay leaders and I was blown away by his work with our community! I knew he’d be able to help me with my own professional life as well. Working with David these past months has been such a blessing. The perspective he provides, the objective view he supplies, the language he has helped me to internalize about my own work…I can’t even say enough! From official assessments to help me understand why I function professionally the way I do, to productive conversations about how I approach relationships and situations in the work place, to helping me develop a healthier work/life balance and system of self-assessment, working with David Wolfman has been a game changer for me!”
Board Member, Kehilat Shanghai, China
“David’s engagement was inspiring and engaging in a way I and many others in our congregation had never experienced before and that made us excited to be active in our community. David’s behind the scenes coaching for our board was instrumental in helping us move from getting bogged down in day to day logistics to being able to think about the big picture, why our community exists and what we need to do to sustain it. The supplemental activities he led for couples and kids were interesting and fun. But what I think everyone will remember the most about David is his gentle and caring manner and the way he was able to empower each person he interacted with. He managed to make everyone he talked to feel they were important and part of something bigger. We are looking forward to working with him again.”
Past President, Kehilat Shanghai, China
Rabbi David Wolfman came to Shanghai to perform one of the best High Holidays services that we ever had. This was a special year for Kehilat Shanghai. We have received a new Tora and therefore the services this year meant a lot to us. Rabbi Wolfman led fantastic services, engaging with everyone; young, old, families , singles and even small children. Besides the very emotional services we also had several activities for families, young professionals and other activities. Rabbi Wolfman made each one of these activities incredibly special. There were many responses from the community members saying that this was the best Jewish activity or the best High Holidays services they have ever attended in their lives! Rabbi Wolfman also used the time in Shanghai to coach and mentor the Kehilat Shanghai board understand who we are and WHY are we here. It started a very important process that we still perform with the support of Rabbi Wolfman from the USA. One more small but very important remark is that Rabbi Wolfman was very considerate and since we are a very young community with limited fund he was willing to do his entire mission in Shanghai pro bono and we are truly thankful for him (and his wife) for making this trip to Shanghai and contributing so much from their experience and knowledge. We hope to see him back with us very soon.
Founding Board Member, Kehilat Shanghai, China
“David is a tremendous resource, and a source of boundless inspiration. He is an effective leader, a trusted confidant, an empathetic teacher and a motivational coach. At a time when the lay board of our growing community was searching for direction and focus, David’s facilitation was invaluable. We are very much looking forward to continuing to work with David in the future.”
Rabbi Dan Moskovitz
Senior Rabbi, Temple Sholom, Vancouver, British Columbia
“Working with David Wolfman as a Rabbinic Coach was one of the most helpful an vital aspects of my rabbinic job transition experience. I came to a new congregation as their first new senior rabbi in 33 years and engaged David to help me navigate the transition process and also to coach me on being a senior rabbi after 13 years of being an assistant/associate. David was incredible. He was always available to talk and process ideas and issues. He helped me craft letters, coached me on supervision, including the termination of program staff person. He was such a help that I recommended to our board that we bring him in for a staff and board retreat. David really shined in this capacity. He instantly connected with our team and guided them through a Meyers-Briggs assessment process to help us learn how to work better together. He worked with our board on defining roles and mission – work they had not really done in a number of years as they were consumed with Rabbinic Transition. I highly recommend David to my rabbinic colleagues and to congregations going through any type of transition or change (which as you’ll learn from David, we are always in transition and change).”
Rabbi Michael Pincus
Congregation Beth Israel, West Hartford, CT
“This is the second year in a row we have brought Rabbi Wolfman to work with our staff and our Board of Trustees. He take the time before hand to assess the situation and works with us to make a tailor made program designed for our needs. He brought the staff to a great place and have given us a language to frame our conversations. It was exactly what I was looking for. For many of our board members he started a conversation about what it meant to be on the board and gave us language to make our conversations more effective. It is a blessing to have him as our guide.”
Co-Director 4-Front, Baltimore
Working with Rabbi David Wolfman for the past few years as an executive coach for our professional development program has been wonderful. He is so incredibly supportive of our work, adaptable to our constantly changing needs, and most importantly the participants who work with him can’t say enough good things about their experience. David is insightful, trusting, and wise. He knows how to push you and ask the right questions to help you uncover your own potential.
President, Sisterhood of Temple Beth Am, Pinccrest, FL
“Our Sisterhood created an opportunity to spend 2 days with Rabbi David S. Wolfman and the experience was everything we hoped for and more – insightful, motivational, fun and excellent for team building. David is able to really listen to participants and target in on their specific issues and needs. He tells delightful stories that always make an important point, and his multi-faceted approach kept us engaged. He helped us understand the challenges inherent in change and transition, and also discussed leadership models and the work we need to do in really hearing each other. His focus on discovering our “WHY” and our “WOW” statements was extraordinarily helpful as we learn and grow. Everything he shared and helped us experience is applicable to our Sisterhood as well as to our relationships as individuals, as a community, and as members of a dynamic world. Rabbi Wolfman also spoke on the future of Judaism 5.0 to over 140 members at a Shabbat dinner, and the responses to his talk were all very positive – – his warm, friendly style of presentation combined with a fascinating look at where we are headed was appropriate to all ages and backgrounds. He also led a beautiful Havdalah service, filled with song, story, sharing and inspiration. We hope to work with Rabbi Wolfman again in the future, and are so grateful for the 2 days we spent together. We would encourage any groups, clergy, temple staff, etc. to spend some time with him – – it is worth your while! “
Rabbi Adena Blum
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Chaim, Princeton Junction, NJ
When I realized that I needed support in my rabbinate, David Wolfman was my first call. It has now been several years that we have worked together, and I cannot thank David enough for the guidance and mentorship he has provided me through numerous challenges and opportunities. In fact, I asked him to install me at my recent installation as senior rabbi. David has helped me to problem solve my interactions with lay leaders and fellow staff and clergy. He has spoken with my president and led training for my board. He has even been a shoulder for me to cry on, enabling me to be human and take care of myself. I love that he reminds me to feed my soul and make choices that work for my family and me, not just for my congregation. If you would benefit from guidance and support in your rabbinic leadership, I recommend David Wolfman with my whole heart.