Norwich - Rabbi Charles Arian, whose contract at Beth Jacob Synagogue ends July 30, will start a new position as rabbi at Kehilat Shalom Synagogue in Gaithersburg, Md., Aug. 1.
Arian said Tuesday that effectively, he will depart from Beth Jacob Synagogue after July 4 and use vacation time to fill out the month. Arian's contract was not renewed at the financially strapped conservative synagogue, which is searching for a part-time rabbi to replace Arian.
Arian served for seven years at the New London Turnpike synagogue and he and his wife, Keleigh Arian, have been active in the Norwich community since they arrived in the city.
Rabbi Arian served as treasurer of the Norwich Area Clergy Association and was active in many of the group's events.
He also served on the board of directors at St. Vincent de Paul Place soup kitchen and was a founding member of the Norwich Ethics Commission. Prior to the commission, he served on the committee that recommended the city create an ethics commission. Charles Arian also was a member of the Redevelopment Agency. He resigned from that agency to be nominated for the ethics board.
"I'm going to miss my civic involvement," he said. "I think the thing I'm probably going to miss most is the NAACP's Martin Luther King Day service at Evans Memorial (AME Zion Church). That's just an amazing service every year. And I'll miss a lot of people in the community."
Arian is pleased to be returning to the Washington, D.C., area, where his bachelor's degree alma mater Georgetown University runs many programs on interreligious relations. He also plans to join the clergy association in Gaithersburg.
Keleigh Arian was elected to the Norwich Board of Education last November and expects to resign her position after the board's July 17 special meeting to discuss the potential designation of the John B. Stanton School as a state education Commissioner's Network school. The designation would bring additional state assistance to improve the school.
Keleigh Arian works for Eastern Connecticut Transportation Consortium Inc. as the mobility ombudsman. She helps people with disabilities and low income and elderly people find transportation. A former teacher, she hopes to work with disabled children in her new home.
According to the city charter, the City Council has the authority to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education with the new person being of the same political party.
Democratic Town Committee Chairman Frank Manfredi said he expects the committee will make a recommendation to the council once Arian submits her resignation.