The second time has proven to be a charm.
Having spent 15 years leading Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell, David Ackerman, 48, left that shul in 2007 for a post at his alma mater, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. But the school's budget crisis meant some trimming, and he recently began leading Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley.
His primary goals for the synagogue, he said, are to deepen its signature commitments — chiefly, Shabbat observance as a community — and to focus on adult Jewish learning and tikkun olam.
One of the benefits of his position, he said, is that he's not unfamiliar with the congregation, having led a shul across town for more than a decade.
"I like the intellectual quality of Beth Am," he said. "I like its do-it-yourself flavor."