Miriam Terlinchamp Chosen as Executive Director of Judaism Unbound

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp, who played a pivotal role in expanding Temple Sholom‘s reform congregation in Blue Ash, has been tapped as the next executive director of Judaism Unbound.

“We will miss her dearly but understand that she has a talent and passion that needs to be shared with the world,” said Neal Hoffman, president of Temple Sholom. “I am thrilled to see Rabbi Terlinchamp take a step that will allow her to have an impact on the broader Jewish community.”

Temple Sholom has begun their search for a new senior rabbi according to Hoffman. Terlinchamp is staying with the synagogue through the High Holidays before she begins her work at Judaism Unbound.

Judaism Unbound, a digital Jewish organization that hosts a podcast network and online classes, recently launched a new education course called the UnYeshiva.

“Through her innovative spiritual work, her artistic energy in making videos for Temple Sholom, her commitment to out-of-the-box spiritual engagement, and her passion for teaching seekers, we think Miriam is a perfect fit to lead our unbound community into the next stage of Judaism Unbound,” said Dan Libenson, the co-founder of Judaism Unbound, in a press release.

Terlinchamp led a period of change and growth at Temple Sholom, overseeing the sale of the congregation’s building back in 2015 and using the funds to reinvigorate the community. She led the community to a less expensive space in Blue Ash. The sale paid off: In the first five years after selling the building Temple Sholom’s membership went up 77 percent. 

During her tenure, Terlinchamp also increased the congregation’s online footprint. She led Sholom in creating videos that included online services, songs, sermons, and comedic shorts. 

“I was making short videos with the community and that set us up for COVID,” Terlinchamp said. “We already knew how to make these videos, because we were used to making these silly five-minute videos, like this one called “The Way We’ve Always Done It Demon.”

“The Way We’ve Always Done It Demon” pokes fun at the resistance many face when trying to make changes in synagogues or religious institutions. The videos were just one way that Terlinchamp helped grow Temple Sholom. “The ultimate goal was [building a place of] belonging over preservation,” she said. 

Temple Sholom was the only local synagogue that aired its high holiday services on TV. Their High Holiday video was aired on the local MeTV station in Cincinnati. 

Terlinchamp is joining Judaism Unbound as Libenson is taking on a new role as the president of the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. 

“We first met Miriam about five years ago when she was a guest on the podcast Judaism Unbound,” said Lex Rofeberg, senior Jewish educator at Judaism Unbound. “We were jazzed to hear about the incredible work she was doing in Cincinnati to help her synagogue grow rapidly.”

Unbound prides itself on pushing the boundaries of what Judaism is and can be in the future. Judaism Unbound views the current time period as a defining moment for the future of Judaism and Jewish thought.

“Our era of Jewish history is one of intense transition, said Rofeberg. “We believe that Judaism is experiencing a time that is similar to the crash that it experienced after the destruction of the Second Temple 2,000 years ago and that we need a new vision of Jewish communities and Judaism’s future.” 

For Judaism Unbound, Terlinchamp is the right bet for figuring out what comes next for Judaism.

“She’s become somebody that we see as a partner and colleague working for a new and creative and progressive vision of the Jewish future,” said Rofeberg

Terlinchamp will stay in Cincinnati while serving as the executive director of Judaism Unbound. She is excited about the opportunities Judaism Unbound can bring here. 

“I believe that the next era of Judaism is going to come from the margins, the artists, the creatives, and there needs to be infrastructure for those folks to be able to build well with it,” Terlinchamp said. 

She sees Cincinnati and communities in the Midwest as the place where new forms of Judaism will be able to experiment and grow. 

“I want Cincinnati to be a place where we can show people that these innovative ideas can be both place-based but also can be universal,” said Terlinchamp.