Rabbi Dean Shapiro Submitted photo

Rabbi Dean Shapiro has been named rabbi for Temple Emanuel of Tempe, bringing his background and worldly experience to the temple, the closest to Ahwatukee Foothills, which serves 550 East Valley families.

Currently, Shapiro is rabbi of Beth Shalom, the Progressive Jewish Congregation of Auckland, New Zealand, and will assume his new position on July 11.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone, and to sharing the special moments of our lives together," he wrote in an email. "I know we'll laugh together, and cry together, and learn together, and together shape our Judaism."

Shapiro was one of about 40 applicants for the position. Rabbi Andrew Straus is leaving to take a position at a congregation in Oakland, Calif.

"(Straus) has been with us for 13 years and he has done amazing things for us and the congregation," said Susan Gordon, president of the Board of Trustees for Temple Emanuel. "We felt that (Shapiro) was the perfect fit for our congregation. He is very dynamic and spiritual and really fit the personality of the community."

Shapiro has served in his current position for the past three years. He has served as vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism's Pacific Southwest Region, as well as worked as an executive in Hollywood at an international film distribution company.

"As a rabbinical student, I learned the power and beauty of Jewish text," Shapiro said. "Living in Israel, I learned how magnificent, rich and varied the Holy Land is.

"As a Hollywood executive, I learned about inviting people to join me, how to work with all kinds, and how to brainstorm."

Temple Emanuel, 5801 S. Rural Road in Tempe, started its search in December.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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