Hartman Institute Names 27 to Fifth Rabbinic Leadership Initiative Cohort

Jerusalem, June 3, 2013 – The Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI), a leader in sophisticated, ideas-based Jewish education for community leaders and change agents, has announced the 27 members of the fifth cohort of its Rabbinic Leadership Initiative (RLI), which has already produced more than 100 North American rabbinic leaders.

The three-year program of study, reflection, and professional development begins July 1, 2013, at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Established in 2000 by the Institute’s late founder, Rabbi Prof. David Hartman, past and current RLI participants represent a broad range of religious, geographic, and gender diversity. The framework of the program creates a community of rabbis uniquely able to disseminate the program’s pluralistic message to hundreds of thousands of families, and by doing so, transform the lives of Jews in North America. Participants spend a month each summer and a week each winter studying at the Hartman 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.

Among program graduates to date are 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, former president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the full list of RLI graduates is here).

“Since its inception nearly 35 years ago, SHI has made the advancement of rabbinic leadership a core mission,” said Rabbi Lauren Berkun, Director of Rabbinic Programs at Shalom Hartman Institute 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.”

Rabbi Asher Lopatin said that learning with the team of scholars and thinkers that David Hartman assembled at the Shalom Hartman Institute transformed his rabbinate.

“The program gave me direction and vision in Jewish thinking based on innovative interpretations of age-old sources in our tradition,” Lopatin said. “Every teacher was an inspiration, each with their own unique style. The learning combined the intellectual rigor of an academic setting with the fulfilling bond with our tradition that yeshiva learning provides. Equally important were the lifelong relationships I acquired – through struggling with and then mastering sublime, but deeply relevant, works of Jewish thought. Ethics, theology, religion, history and philosophy came together every day and transformed who I am as a Jew, a rabbi and a human being.”

The fifth RLI cohort will run from 2013 to 2016:

  • Justus Baird, Auburn Seminary, Princeton, NJ
  • James Bennett, Congregation Shaare Emeth, St. Louis, MO
  • Matthew Berkowitz, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Jerusalem, IL
  • Jacob Blumenthal, Shaare Torah, Gaithersburg, MD
  • Nail Blumofe, Congregation Agudas Achim, Austin, TX
  • Daniel Bogard, Congregation Anshai Emeth, Peoria, IL
  • Paul Cohen, Temple Jeremiah, Deerfield, IL
  • Shoshanah Conover, Temple Sholom of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Adam Cutler, Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto, ON
  • Edward Elkin, First Narayever Congregation, Toronto, ON
  • Shira Epstein, Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn, NY
  • Alejandro (Alex) Felch, Congregation B’nai Tikvah, Deerfield, IL
  • Linda Goodman, Union Temple of Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
  • Tina Grimberg, Congregation Darchei Noam, Toronto, ON
  • Joshua Hoffman, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA
  • Sara Hurwitz, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale/Yeshivat Maharat, Bronx, NY
  • David Ingber, Romemu: Judaism for Body, Mind and Spirit, New York, NY
  • Adam Kligfeld, Temple Beth Am, Los Angeles, CA
  • Erin Leib Smokler, Yeshivat Maharat, New York, NY
  • Marion Lev-Cohen, Central Synagogue, New York, NY
  • Joel Pitkowsky, Congregation Beth Sholom, Teaneck, NJ
  • Michael Resnick, Temple Emanu-El of Palm Beach, Palm Beach, FL
  • Eric Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh, NC
  • Howard Stecker, Temple Israel of Great Neck, Great Neck, NY
  • Ari Sunshine, B’nai Shalom of Olney, Olney, MD
  • Orna Triguboff, Emanuel Synagogue and Neshama Life, Sydney, Australia
  • Marc Wolf, Shalom Hartman Institute, New York, NY