Ordained as a Rabbi in 1973, Robert Orkand has been the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Westport, a Reform Jewish congregation of over 800 families, since 1982. Prior to his arrival in Westport he served as an assistant rabbi at Temple Israel in Miami, Florida and as Rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Rockford, IL.
In 2008, Rabbi Orkand was elected President of ARZA: Association of Reform Zionists of America after many years of leadership in the Reform movement’s Zionist organization. Because of his involvement with ARZA, he has traveled to Israel several times a year, as well as to numerous countries where there are Jewish communities. In 2010 Rabbi Orkand was reelected to this position for a second term.
Rabbi Orkand has served as Chair of the Human Services Commission of the Town of Westport, as President of United Way of Westport-Weston, and as President of the Westport-Weston Clergy Association. In 1989 he received the Westport Chamber of Commerce “Community Commitment Award.” In 1998 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2004 the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America awarded Rabbi Orkand its “Distinguished Citizen Award.”
Rabbi Orkand was Chair of the National Commission on Jewish Education for the Reform movement. In addition, he has served on the National Camp Commission of the Reform Movement, the Publications Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Small Cities Committee of the CCAR, and has chaired the Program Committee of Eisner Camp Institute. Rabbi Orkand has co-authored three prayerbooks for children: Gates of Wonder, Gates of Awe and A Children’s Haggadah.
In addition, the Rabbi serves as a member of the State and county boards of ADL and has served on the Fairfield County Board of the National Conference of Community and Justice. Rabbi Orkand currently serves as a member of the Board of UJA/Federation of Westport-Weston-Wilton-Norwalk. He has also served as the International Rabbi of Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
Rabbi Orkand is a Board Member since June 2010.