(RNS) — The Rabbinical Assembly, an international association of Conservative rabbis, has chosen Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, a pulpit rabbi from Gaithersburg, Md., as its new chief executive.

Blumenthal, 52, who has served his entire career at Shaare Torah, a congregation of about 320 households, will lead the assembly beginning in July.

The Rabbinical Assembly supports its approximately 1,700 member rabbis, most of whom are in North America, with about 10 percent in Israel, Latin America, Australia and South Africa. The group also helps shape the Conservative movement’s programs and practices.

Conservative Judaism is the second largest Jewish denomination in the U.S., with some 570,000 members in its constituent synagogues, though its U.S. footprint has declined over the past decade and now represents only about 18

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