Tree of Life appoints interim leader |

Tree of Life appoints interim leader

Paul Guggenheimer
Tree of Life
William J. O’Rourke

Four months to the day since a gunman attacked and killed 11 of its congregants, the Tree of Life synagogue has announced the hiring of a new leader.

Local business executive William J. O’Rourke has been named the congregation’s interim executive director.

Prior to the Oct. 27 massacre, Tree of Life had been seeking a permanent executive director. After the tragic events of that day, the plan changed with Tree of Life leaders deciding that the role of the executive director needed to encompass much more.

Tree of Life president Sam Schachner said naming O’Rourke as interim executive director will help the congregation move forward as it continues to deal with the trauma it has experienced.

“We’re glad to have Bill’s expertise and leadership,” said Schachner. “He will be serving a congregation that is grateful for all of the support we have received from far and wide in the aftermath of the October 27th tragedy, and will be a welcomed addition throughout our recovery and our return to vibrancy, currently underway.”

O’Rourke has worked in leadership positions at Alcoa, U.S. Steel, and Joy Manufacturing Company. He serves on the Ethics Advisory Board and teaches ethics at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business and has been an active board member of numerous civic, charitable, and religious organizations, according to a news release from Tree of Life.

Tree of Life is temporarily conducting services and business operations at Rodef Shalom in Oakland.

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].

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