RABBI FRED GUTTMAN
Rabbi Fred Guttman served as the rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1995 to 2021.
During his tenure, membership grew from 360 families in 1995 to around 600. It was also during this period that a capital campaign raised more than $8 million to build a new, 45-000 square foot synagogue and endowed the maintenance of the historic downtown Temple. During his tenure, the total amount of Temple Endowments increased sevenfold.
From 1979 to 1991, Rabbi Guttman lived in Israel and served as the rabbi and principal of Alexander Muss High School in Israel. During that time, he served in a combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces.
In addition to his Rabbinical Ordination from Hebrew Union College in 1979, he has a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College. He also earned a Master of Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida in 1994. His undergraduate education was at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity from Hebrew Union College.
Rabbi Guttman has been involved in numerous interfaith activities.
In 1998, he helped organize 66 members of the Interfaith Clergy community to intervene on behalf of our children when the school boards and the local county commissioners sued each other over the school budget. Together with other clergies, behind-the-scenes negotiations were held which resulted in the settlement of this lawsuit, the approval of a school budget, and the opening of schools in a timely fashion.
He has organized three Interfaith Clergy Trips to Israel. His vision for the trip was to break down the religious, ethnic, and racial barriers that exist within Greensboro’s clergy and the faith communities that they represent.
Rabbi Guttman established an ongoing Hevra Torah Study which usually attracts some 50 people on Saturday morning. He created special services such as an LGBT Sabbath Service, MLK Shabbat service and Marriage Reconsecration Shabbat.
He facilitated and subsidized teens to attend the L’Taken Social Action Seminar of the Religious Action Center during all four years of their High school experience.
He is a regional director of the International March of the Living to Poland and Israel and has recruited and accompanied Greensboro teenagers on this program on seventeen occasions. In 2018, Rabbi Guttman produced the Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) service for the March of the Living. This service was held at the Krakow Opera house.
Nationally, Rabbi Guttman organized in 2015 the National Jewish commemoration of the Bloody Sunday, March in Selma Alabama. The commemoration took place in Selma on the 50th Anniversary of the March.
He was among twenty American Rabbis chosen to attend the Rabbinical Unity Mission to Israel 2018. While there, he met with Natan Sharansky and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Rabbi Guttman established, along with his wife Nancy (and Laurie Regal), the yearly Greensboro Jewish Festival. The Festival is attended by thousands in Greensboro and highlights Jewish customs, food and culture. Over 300 Temple Emanuel volunteers spend nearly one year planning this event.
Rabbi Guttman has received numerous awards and honors including the Sharon Hoard Lifetime of Service Award from the Volunteer Center of the Triad; recognition as one of the 33 most Inspirational Rabbis in North America by the Forward Magazine; recognition as one of Reform Judaism’s “50 Voices for Justice;” recipient of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award from the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ); the Champion for Children Award from the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children; and the Rabbinical Award from the United Jewish Communities.
In 2022, Rabbi Guttman received the Lifetime Community Service Award for his work in Civil Rights from the International Civil Rights Center & Museum [ICRCM] in Greensboro. He was honored along with Rev. James M. Lawson, Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney Ben Crump, and Bakari Sellers. The ICRCM is affiliated with the Smithsonian.
He has been the chair of the Israel/Foreign Affairs subcommittee of the Commission of Social Action for Reform Judaism and has been instrumental in helping draft several significant Union for Reform Judaism resolutions, including resolutions on torture and human rights.
Rabbi Guttman was the first and only rabbi ever to have been the Keynote Speaker at the Religious Emphasis Day Luncheon at the 70th North Carolina NAACP Convention.
During the Covid Pandemic, Rabbi Guttman spearheaded different programs on zoom which brought together the North Carolina Reform Jewish community. More than 10 congregations came together for a variety of programs. These included: a memorial to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two six-week lunch and learn programs of two hours each taught by a variety of rabbis from different congregations, and a joint MLK Justice Shabbat service.
He is a regular contributor of opinion articles to the Greensboro News & Record and other publications.
He loves music and plays both the guitar and keyboard. He is married to Nancy and has three children and four grandchildren of whom he is very proud.
Contact him at FGuttman@tegreensboro.org