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Twenty-Eight Rabbis Named Shalom Hartman Institute Senior Rabbinic Fellows

Graduates of RLI have engaged in the highest levels of Jewish study focused on meeting contemporary challenges
The Rabbinic Leadership Initiative began its fourth cohort of North American rabbis in Summer 2010. Members of the group will be in the program for three years. Click here for details n the program. The rabbinic fellows are listed below. Joshua Aaronson Temple Har Shalom Park City, UT Ken Chasen Leo Baeck Temple Los Angeles, CA David Cohen Congregation Sinai Bayside, WI Yonatan Cohen Congregation Beth Israel Berkeley, CA Denise Eger Congregation Kol Ami W. Hollywood,

The Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI), a leader in sophisticated, ideas-based Jewish education for community leaders and change agents, proudly announces that 28 North American rabbis have been named Senior Rabbinic Fellows of the Institute at the graduation ceremony of the fourth cohort of the Institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative (RLI).

Past and current RLI participants represent a broad range of religious, geographic, and gender diversity. The pluralistic framework of the program creates a community of rabbis uniquely able to transform the lives of Jews in North America. Participants spend a month each summer and a week each winter studying at the Hartman Institute campus in Jerusalem. During the remainder of each year, participants engage in weekly study with leading Hartman Institute scholars, learning classical and modern sources and developing ways to integrate this knowledge into their rabbinical work.

Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, opened the ceremony with a teaching illustrating an attempt by the sage Rabban Gamliel to reconcile his faith with modernity. “The rabbis whom we celebrate and honor tonight,” said Kurtzer, “are these types of Jewish leaders—teachers, students, visionaries—who see the confrontation between Judaism and modernity as an opportunity rather than a challenge, and who have sought in this Beit Midrash a Torah to make that relevant Judaism come alive.”

“Since its inception nearly 35 years ago, SHI has made the advancement of rabbinic leadership a core mission,” said Rabbi Lauren Berkun, the Institute’s Director of Rabbinic Programs and a graduate of the second RLI cohort. “Rabbis have very few structured frameworks for ongoing scholarly enrichment, spiritual development, and intellectual leadership training. RLI is specifically aimed at equipping rabbis to become ever-more significant agents of change and intellectual leaders, continually infusing North American Jewish communities with new energy and vitality.”

Participants praised the opportunity to study with colleagues across denominational boundaries. Uri Topolosky, rabbi of the Orthodox synagogue Congregation Beth Israel in Metarie, LA, offered his reflections on the RLI experience during the graduation ceremony, saying, “Our Beit Midrash was an open space with room for questions. It’s a real blessing when we can bring this Beit Midrash and its gift of openness home to our communities. Thank you for giving my soul room to breathe.”

Rabbi Denise Eger, of Congregation Kol Ami, a Reform synagogue in West Hollywood, CA, said, “We have had the privilege of standing at Sinai once again. It wasn’t always so comfortable; we had to stretch.”

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman of the Yesh Atid party, delivered the keynote address. His own experience as a religious member of a pluralistic political party echoed the words of the RLI graduates. “I am Orthodox. I believe 100%,” he said. “But I don’t believe I should force those beliefs on anyone else. And I certainly don’t have the right to use the force of government to force beliefs on anyone else.” He went on to describe the importance of face to face dialogue with his colleagues in creating bridges of understanding.

Previous RLI graduates include Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Asher Lopatin, incoming head of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah of New York, and Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, demonstrating how the program’s pluralistic message is reaching hundreds of thousands of families across North America.

The new Senior Rabbinic Fellows are:

  • Joshua Aaronson, Temple Judaea, Tarzana, CA
  • Ken Chasen, Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles, CA
  • David Cohen, Congregation Sinai, Bayside, WI
  • Yonatan Cohen, Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley, CA
  • Denise Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood, CA
  • Michael Feshbach, Temple Shalom, North Potomac, MD
  • William Gershon, Congregation, Shearith Israel, Dallas, TX
  • Arnold Gluck, Temple Beth-El, Skillman, NJ
  • Eric Gurvis, Temple Shalom, Newton, MA
  • Jonathan Hecht, Temple Chaverim, Melville, NY
  • Sidney Helbraun, Temple Beth-El, Northbrook, IL
  • Jacob Herber, Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid, Glendale, WI
  • Micah Hyman, Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco, CA
  • Yoni Jaffe, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA
  • Debra Newman Kamin, Am Yisrael, Highland Park, IL
  • David-Seth Kirshner, Temple Emanu-El, Closter, NJ
  • Chava Koster, B’nai Israel, Chestnut Ridge, NY
  • Steven Morgen, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, Houston, TX
  • Lionel Moses, Shaare Zion Congregation, Hampstead, QC
  • Dina Najman, Kehilat Orach Eliezar, New York, NY
  • Laurie Phillips, Congregation Habonim, New York, NY
  • Carnie Shalom Rose, B’nai Amoona, St. Louis, MO
  • Yossi Sapirman, Beth Torah Congregation, Toronto, ON
  • Amy Joy Small, Morristown, NJ
  • Uri Topolosky, Congregation Beth Israel, Metairie, LA
  • Stewart Vogel, Temple Aliyah, Woodland Hills, CA
  • Susan Warshaw, Temple Bat Yam, Ocean City, MD
  • David Weiss, Congregation Beth Israel, Northfield, NJ

See more photographs from the ceremony on our Facebook page.

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