The Shalom Hartman Institute is building on the work it has long done in Jerusalem by expanding programming directly to North America.

Yehuda Kurtzer has been selected to spearhead this new initiative. Two years ago, Kurtzer was selected from over 200 other applicants as the first Charles R. Bronfman Visiting Chair in Jewish Communal Innovation at Brandeis University.

In announcing the expansion, Donniel Hartman, the Institute’s president, said, “The vitality and independence of the North American Jewish community requires us to have a North American base of operations to ensure that we sufficiently serve this community. North America has its own unique challenges. We need to make sure that we service the Jewish community there at the highest level, which is tough to do at a 6,000-mile distance.”

In order to accomplish this, SHI-NA will reach out to Jewish leaders, from congregational rabbis to start-up entrepreneurs. According to Kurtzer, “We are looking to become the Jewish community’s premier provider of serious learning applied to leaders and change-agents, and the central address for serious engagement with ideas. We will continue to build on the Institute’s innovative work: engaging and empowering these change-agents with the kind of Torah wisdom they need to be stronger and more effective leaders. Our vision is to elevate the discourse of the North American Jewish community to deal with texts, ideas, and learning; rather than crisis-management.”