Our Rabbi is the spiritual leader of our Congregation and a leader in creating a vibrant Jewish community in Southern Nevada.
Sanford Akselrad has served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid since he came to Las Vegas in 1988. During this time, the Synagogue grew from approximately 60 to over 600 families, becoming the largest Reform Synagogue in the State of Nevada. In his 30 years of service to our Congregation, Rabbi Akselrad has served on a wide variety of community boards including the Humana Hospital Pastoral Advisory Board, the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Jewish Family Services and the National Conference of Community and Justice.
A firm believer in K’lal Israel and building a strong Jewish community, Rabbi Akselrad has spearheaded many community-wide Boards, Commissions and organizations that have helped shape the Jewish community we live in today. He is a founding member and current President of the Clark County Board of Rabbis. He is also a founding member and past Chair of the National Conference of Community and Justice’s Interfaith Council and of the Federation’s Community Relations Council (CRC). Rabbi Akselrad also spear-headed the effort to bring the Interfaith Hospitality Network model of sheltering homeless families to Las Vegas. Now called Family Promise, this model uses the facilities and volunteers from local faith communities to shelter, feed and encourage homeless families to live with dignity and hope, and ultimately end their period of homelessness.
In the wake of the Great Recession of the late 2000’s, Rabbi Akselrad envisioned Project Ezra, a partnership between the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, the Board of Rabbis, and Jewish Family Service Agency. Project Ezra helped over 600 people of all faiths secure new employment during this challenging economic climate.
Rabbi Akselrad is currently a board member of the Anti-Defamation League of Las Vegas and the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada. Rabbi Akselrad has served on the National Commission on Jewish Living, Worship and Music for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) for over ten years. He has also served on the Outreach Committee (to interfaith families) of the URJ.
Rabbi Akselrad was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1984. His rabbinic thesis dealt with the moral implications of the Holocaust and how the Holocaust is taught in public and private schools. Because of his expertise, Rabbi Akselrad helped form the Governor’s Council on Holocaust Education, and he faithfully served as a member of that Board for over twenty five years.
Upon ordination in 1984 Rabbi Akselrad served as the associate Rabbi of one of the largest Reform Congregations in the mid-west, Temple Israel of Columbus, Ohio. In 2009 Hebrew Union College-JIR awarded Rabbi Akselrad an honorary doctorate of Divinity upon his 25th year in the rabbinate. Rabbi Akselrad also served as President of the Pacific Area of Reform Rabbis, one of the largest rabbinical organizations in North America.
Through his involvement in the interfaith community he has been a constant presence in Interfaith forums, and the co founder of the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving service.
Rabbi Akselrad’s community contributions and leadership are the best example of Congregation Ner Tamid’s commitment to Tikkun Olam and Social Justice.
Rabbi is married to Joni and has two children, CJ and Sam. His daughter in law is Ana and his granddaughter is Genevieve.