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Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger

Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger came to Beth-El Congregation in 1984. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut and grew up in suburban Chicago. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1968, and was ordained upon graduation at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972, which also awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in 1997. Prior to coming to Beth-El Rabbi Mecklenburger served congregations in San Francisco, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rabbi Mecklenburger's wife is the former Ann Nusbaum of Canton, Ohio. They have two children, Elissa Imran of Hong Kong and Alan Mecklenburger of Washington, D.C.


In addition to his congregational duties, Rabbi Mecklenburger has been involved in communal affairs both locally and nationally. Our Rabbi is an adjunct faculty member at Brite Divinity School, TCU, and for many years chaired the Texas Conference of Churches' Jewish-Christian Forum. He is on the Boards of Community Hospice of North Texas, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and the Jewish Family Service Agency. He has been a member of the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, Vice Chair of the United Way of Tarrant County, and is Past-President of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis. Nationally, Rabbi Mecklenburger serves on the Reform movement’s Commission on Worship, Music and Religious Living, and served on the Board of Central Conference of American Rabbis.


In 2012 Jewish Lights Publishing published his book, Our Religious Brains: What Cognitive Science Reveals about Belief, Morality, Community and Our Relationship with God. Rabbi Mecklenburger's articles and sermons have been published in many periodicals, among them The Journal of Reform Judaism, The CCAR Journal, The Journal of Reform Zionism, The American Rabbi, Religious Studies Review, The Presbyterian Outlook, The Christian Century, Midstream, Compass, The Jewish Spectator, and The Orchard. His essay, “Comfort and Discomfort: Being Jewish in Fort Worth,” is a chapter in Lone Stars of David, The Jews of Texas, edited by Beth-El’s archivist and historian, Hollace Weiner.

In 2011 Fort Worth’s Multicultural Alliance gave Rabbi Mecklenburger its annual award for his interfaith and interethnic work over the years. Among many other honors that have come to him, in 1986 the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth awarded him the “Leon and Fay Brachman Young Leadership Award,” in 1992 the local B'nai B'rith Chapter named him "Jewish Man of the Year," and in 2008 Israel Bonds gave him its “Scroll of Jerusalem Award.” Also in 1988 the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission honored Rabbi Mecklenburger for “efforts in promoting the peace, progress and welfare of all citizens of the city of Fort Worth,” and the April issue of Fort Worth, Texas Magazine profiled him as one of “14 Brilliant Minds of Tarrant County.”

Rabbi Mecklenburger retired as Senior Rabbi of Beth-El in 2016.  He remains Rabbi Emeritus.

Contact Rabbi Mecklenburger at

Check out Rabbi Mecklenburger's books:

Our Religious Brains

Why Call It God?

Both books are available for purchase in Beth-El's Judaica shop!

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