Temple Har Shalom has hired a rabbi, the president of the synagogue's board of directors said on Wednesday, describing the Chicagoan as having the experience and the demeanor to be the religious leader of the congregation.

Rabbi David Levinsky will take the pulpit at Temple Har Shalom on July 1, 2015. Joel Fine, the president of the Temple Har Shalom board of directors, said Levinsky accepted the position on Tuesday.

Levinsky is the associate rabbi at the Chicago Sinai synagogue. According to a biography posted on the Chicago Sinai website, Levinsky is from the Chicago area and holds a doctorate in religious studies from Stanford University. He has written for the Chicago Tribune on a freelance basis and writes poetry, the biography says. He was a rabbi at a congregation in Palo Alto, Calif., prior to the Chicago position, it says.

Levinsky will succeed Josh Aaronson, who left Temple Har Shalom in mid-2013 for a position at a synagogue in Southern California. Aaronson became Temple Har Shalom's first full-time rabbi when he arrived in 2002.

Rabbi Jim Simon has served in an interim role since the summer of 2013. Simon plans to leave the congregation the day before Levinsky starts.

Fine said the congregation's leadership hopes membership increases under Levinsky from the approximately 260 families now. He said the leadership hopes the religious school expands and that Levinsky engages the Jewish community and the wider community at large.


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He said he anticipates the rabbi will be an "active voice in the Jewish community."

Fine said Temple Har Shalom and Levinsky reached a multiyear contract.