Rabbi Scott B. Roland will lead Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood for another 10 years after the synagogue’s board of trustees extended his contract to June 2031.
Roland, who joined Shaarey Tikvah in July 2016, will become the synagogue’s second-longest serving rabbi upon completion of his renewed contract.
“It’s the realization of something that I’ve wanted for a very long time,” Roland told the Cleveland Jewish News on Jan. 25. “My goal as a rabbi has always been to be able to grow with the community over a long period of time. I just feel fortunate to have found a community that feels like such a good fit for me, and God willing, I’ll continue to be a good fit for the community and we’ll get to flourish together.”
Roland has overseen increased community outreach and membership engagement, a cantor transition, a new brand launch, a partnership with the Kol Israel Foundation in Beachwood to update and control the Face to Face Holocaust education program, and the hiring of Rabbi Rachel Brown as director of congregational learning. Over the past two years, about 30 family units have joined CST.
The arrival of COVID-19 brought about the start of livestream technology and virtual programming under Roland’s leadership.
“Rabbi Roland’s approach to Judaism balances an infectious joy and the necessary honesty to enable true growth for our community, especially in our most challenging times,” board president Dr. Joshua Gordon said in a news release. “We feel so fortunate to have found a rabbinic leader who is such a strong fit for our kehillah (community) today and into the future.”
Roland said he considers the relationships he’s forged over the years as his greatest accomplishment as rabbi.
“I really do the work that I’m doing because I love the Jewish people and because I particularly am fond of our Shaarey Tikvah community,” Roland said. “It all comes back to the relationships and being there for people.”
Roland said he looks to the coming decade as an opportunity to bring more people to Shaarey Tikvah so it can experience everything the congregation has to offer.
His contract extension also brings feelings of gratefulness and humbleness as Roland said he thinks about the rabbis who’ve led the congregation during its 81 years. Its longest serving rabbi was the late Rabbi Jacob Shtull who served for nearly 35 years from 1958 to 1992.
“We refer to ourselves as a small shul in a large community, and we really take that to heart,” Roland said. “We are small in size, but we show up for one another and we serve God and one another with great intensity and love. I hope that as we continue to grow, others will want to join us.”