David Ellenson is a fellow in the Kogod Research Center of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and Chancellor Emeritus as well as I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor Emeritus of Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He served as Director of the Schusterman Center of Israel Studies at Brandeis University from 2015-2018 and is currently Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. From 2001-2013 Ellenson was President of HUC-JIR, and in 2018-2019, following the tragic death of Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ellenson was called upon to be Interim President of HUC-JIR.
He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and was ordained by HUC-JIR. He also holds an M.Phil. degree from Columbia University as well as the M.A. degree from HUC-JIR and the University of Virginia. He received his B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
His extensive publications include Tradition in Transition: Orthodoxy, Halakhah and the Boundaries of Modern Jewish History (1989), Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy(1990) (nominated for the National Jewish Book Council’s award for outstanding book in Jewish History, 1990), Between Tradition and Culture: The Dialectics of Jewish Religion and Identity in the Modern World (1994), and After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, which won the National Jewish Book Council’s Award as the outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005. Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in 19th- and 20th-Century Orthodox Responsa, co-authored with Daniel Gordis (2012), was named a Finalist for the National Jewish Book Council’s Award in Scholarship in 2012. His Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice was published in the Jewish Publication Society-University of Nebraska Scholar of Distinction Series in 2014. His newest book, American Jewish Thought Since 1934, co-authored with Michael Marmur, was published by Brandeis University Press in 2020.