Rabbi Brent Gutmann
July 29, 2022

We are delighted to cast a spotlight today on Temple Beth Zion’s new Senior Rabbi, Brent Gutmann.  Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Rabbi Gutmann, who also goes by Rabbi Brent, joins TBZ after having served for 6 years as the Senior Rabbi for Temple Kol Ami in West Bloomfield, Michigan.  A graduate of Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Brent began his career serving for 3 years as a rabbi at Beth Shalom Progressive Congregation in Auckland, New Zealand.  The Rabbi is married to Jill Gutmann and they have four young daughters who are enrolled to be part of the Kadimah Scholars program at Park School for this school year.  “My family and I are delighted to be in Buffalo and to serve Temple Beth Zion,” shared the Rabbi. “We are settling in and starting to learn our way around the area.” 

Outside of the Temple, Rabbi Gutmann has a wide range of interests from biking and cooking, to gardening and camping.  “The weather has been spectacular and we are already hooked on Buffalo summers,” he smiled. “Our favorite room of our home is our outdoor patio, and I have been enjoying biking, golfing, and pool time with my family.”

“Heading into our search for a new rabbi, there were some common themes on the minds of TBZ’s congregants,” commented Jeff Clark the Temple Executive Director. “They sought a rabbi who would be kind and genuine and would help reinvigorate the congregation with meaningful services and a renewed sense of social justice. And it certainly feels as though Rabbi Brent and his family’s arrival at Temple Beth Zion is bashert; just what we needed – and right when we needed it!” 

“Temple Beth Zion and the Buffalo Jewish Community have been particularly friendly,” Rabbi Brent reflected. “Members of the congregation and community have gone out of their way to welcome us with heartfelt messages, meals and other special treats.  We were blown away when approximately two hundred and fifty individuals attended my first service online and in person.”

Although Temple Beth Zion celebrates 173 years of history, this moment feels new and exciting for the Rabbi and his family. “While it will definitely take time for things to fall into place as I continue to learn about and get to know the congregation, I feel deeply blessed to be the rabbi of such a beloved congregation and to partner with such capable, committed and hard-working laypeople and professionals.”

He shared that earlier this month, the Rabbinic Transition Committee created a “716” Havdalah and picnic event on Saturday evening, July 16.  Nearly 70 Temple members attended enjoying good food and company, the music of Zack Steinberg and Steve Lattimore, and the opportunity to play lawn games. “I even learned the rules of KanJam,” beamed the Rabbi.  When speaking before those who had gathered, Rabbi Brent shared the story of the 36 hidden righteous ones of each generation whose acts of goodness sustain the world. “Who are among the thirty-six righteous,” he asked. “It could be me, it could be you, we don’t know, but we do know that when we work together, that will be enough for us to ensure the future of our world.”

Rabbi Brent Gutmann - Rabbi Brent with Guitar