Rabbi Michael Torop has been serving as the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El, a diverse Reform congregation of approximately 400 families in St. Petersburg, Florida since 2001. His rabbinate is focused on creating connected and inclusive communities of engagement and learning where Jewish life is explored intellectually & celebrated with joy and a sense of partnership with God. Rabbi Torop co-chairs the Jewish Advisory Board of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, and he chairs the Trockey Educational Loan Fund providing small, needs-based, interest-free loans to Jewish post-secondary students in the area. Previously, he has served as the President of the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis and also on the Executive Committee of FAST- Faith & Action for Strength Together, an interfaith coalition working on local social justice issues. He was on the Transition Team for Mayor Rick Kriseman when preparing to begin his first term of office in 2013.
Rabbi Torop received his BA in Political Anthropology & Legal Studies from Brandeis University (1984), his Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University (1985), and his Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters (1989) and Rabbinic Ordination (1990) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He began his rabbinic career serving for eight years as the rabbi of the Leo Baeck Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Upon returning to the US, he was the Associate Rabbi and Director of Education at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, NY, for three years before coming joining the Temple Beth-El community.
He is married to Rabbi Betsy Torop, Director of Rabbinic Engagement and Growth for the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform Rabbinic leadership organization for Reform colleagues in North America. They have three children: Gideon, Aaron & Hannah.