Fred Guttman

Fred Guttman has served as the rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1995 to the present. From 1979 to 1991, Rabbi Guttman lived in Israel and served as the rabbi and principal of Alexander Muss High School in Israel. 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. In his congregation, Fred instituted an annual Martin Luther King Sabbath service. This service seeks to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and has also become an opportunity to highlight relations between Jews and African-Americans and to facilitate community dialogue. The service is held annually on the Friday evening before Martin Luther King Day and includes guest speakers from the African-American community. Fred has been involved in numerous interfaith activities. These include being a board member of the National Conference for Community and Justice. He has spearheaded numerous programs aimed at improving relationships between Jews, Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians and others. In 1998, he helped organize 66 members of Greensboro’s Interfaith Clergy community to intervene on behalf of children when the school boards and the local county commissioners sued each other over the school budget. Together with other clergy, 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. In 1999, Fred was an important part of a group which intervened with the Lieutenant Governor to secure the parole of a thirty one year old African American who had been sentenced to 48 years in prison for a breaking and entering crime at the age of seventeen. He became involved in this case when requested to do so by African American clergy within the community. The group succeeded in obtaining a parole for the young man, Kwame Cannon. In 2000, Fred was the co chair Greensboro’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Greensboro Civil Rights Sit-In movement. He serves on the Board of Visitors of North Carolina A&T. In 2008 and 2013, he organized an Interfaith Clergy trips to Israel which took a total of 37 clergy from Guilford County to Israel for learning and fellowship and whose long term effects will hopefully be an increase of the social capital among clergy here in Greensboro. In 2009, Rabbi Guttman along with Rev. Mark Sills of FaithAction International, an organization which works primarily with immigrants in Guilford County, was awarded the prestigious NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award. In 2012, Rabbi Guttman was one of the lead activists in the effort to defeat the discriminatory against LGBT’s Amendment One” in the State of North Carolina. In the same year, he was recognized as being one of the “50 Voices for Justice” by the Union for Reform Judaism.” Nominated by Senator Kay Hagan, he was a participant on the 14th annual “Faith & Politics Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage” in 2014. The delegation travelled to Mississippi and then to Selma, Alabama for the commemoration of the 1965 Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing with Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) who was the Pilgrimage Chairman for this bipartisan trip.


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