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Shalom Hartman Institute of North America Announces Two New Hires

We welcome Rabbi Leon Morris as VP for Israel Programs and Dr. Elana Stein Hain as Director of Leadership Education

Shalom Hartman Institute of North America is pleased to announce the new additions of Dr. Elana Stein Hain as Director of Leadership Education and of Rabbi Leon A. Morris as SHI-North America Vice President for Programs in Israel. Launched in 2010 and building on the strong Hartman Institute foundation of working with North American Jewish community leaders, SHI North America has quickly positioned itself as a central convener of sophisticated dialogue and study on major Jewish questions, and a premiere applied think-tank and educational resource center for North American Jewish community leadership. The broad expansion of activity both locally and in Israel has required the addition of these two new key positions.

Dr. Elana Stein Hain“At a moment of tremendous growth for our organization, I am thrilled to welcome two master educators to our team,” said Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. “Both Elana and Leon bring depth of experience in the congregational, academic, and institutional worlds, and their leadership will bring our ability to offer programs of depth and purpose to new heights, both in North America and in Israel.”

“For 20 years I’ve been enamored and inspired by the work of the Hartman Institute," says Rabbi Morris. "What a privilege it is to join the institute’s leadership and to have the opportunity to work closely with my colleagues in Israel and North America in contributing toward new initiatives that impact Jewish life in North America and around the world. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the exciting Jerusalem-based Hartman programs which will surely offer a wonderful opportunity for me to engage with many veteran and new Hartman learners."

Based in Jerusalem, Rabbi Morris will oversee the content and running of all of Institute programs for North American constituents. In addition to Hartman community leadership programs that take place in Jerusalem, Rabbi Morris serve as a lead faculty member for programs taking place in North American as well.

Rabbi Leon MorrisA leading educator in the field of adult Jewish study, Rabbi Morris was the founding director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. He has taught in Reform, Conservative and Orthodox synagogues, as well as Drisha. Serving as rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, NY. for 15 years, Rabbi Morris moved to Sag Harbor four years ago to transform this pulpit into a year-round congregation. Rabbi Morris was ordained from Hebrew Union College in 1997 where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. For three years he served as Director of New York Kollel: A Center for Adult Jewish Study at HUC-JIR. He was a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow and a member of Hartman’s North American Scholars’ Circle. Rabbi Morris also worked extensively as an educator with the Jewish community of India, beginning in 1990 when he served as a Jewish Service Corps volunteer for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Rabbi Morris has contributed essays to Haaretz, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, The Jewish Week and Beliefnet and has appeared on NPR “Morning Edition” and PBS “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.” He is a contributor to Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief (edited by Elliot Cosgrove, Jewish Lights, 2010) and to Platforms and Prayer Books: Theological and Liturgical Perspectives on Reform Judaism (edited by Dana Evan Kaplan, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002). He is one of four editors of the forthcoming Reform High Holy Day prayer book to be published in 2015.

"The Shalom Hartman Institute represents ambitious vision coupled with serious Jewish engagement,” said Dr. Stein Hain. “As a firm believer in the transformative power of education, I am honored to join SHI North America in its efforts to promote dynamic Jewish thought and conversation to the benefit of North American Jewry and beyond. Likewise, I look forward to the responsibility and creativity that comes with helping shape the contours and possibilities of a newly created position."

Effective April 1, Dr. Stein Hain will joining the New York office in the newly created role of Director of Leadership Education. Joining the senior leadership of SHI North America, Dr. Stein Hain will serve as a lead faculty member, overseeing the content of lay and professional leadership programs. Ensuring the quality and consistency of the growing and evolving SHI North America offering, she will serve as an important voice in the ongoing creative process of designing and leading educational programs.

A widely well-regarded teacher and scholar, Dr. Stein Hain is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in Religion on the topic of legal loopholes in rabbinic literature at Columbia University. She has served for over half a decade as a clergy member at Lincoln Square Synagogue in NY and was recently an adjunct faculty member at NYU. A graduate of Columbia University, the Yeshiva University Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies, and the Cardozo Interdisciplinary Fellowship in Jewish Law and Legal Theory, she has taught around the country, including as a member of Wexner Institute faculty. Dr. Stein Hain co-founded the OLP (Orthodox Leadership Project) to support female leaders working in the Orthodox Jewish community and the pluralistic Seminarians for Social Justice in response to crisis in Sudan, and was recognized by the Jewish Week as an emerging Jewish leader in its first 36 Under 36 listing.

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