The Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program has announced that Professor Shirley Idelson has been appointed the director of Hornstein, effective July 1, 2020. Prof. Idelson brings to Hornstein deep experience working at the intersection of higher education, Jewish life, and leadership. A historian, rabbi and journalist, Idelson served as dean of the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), where from 2007-2016 she oversaw all aspects of academic and campus life, and created innovative programs in areas including social responsibility, entrepreneurship and contemplative practice.
She is currently completing a book on Stephen S. Wise’s Jewish Institute of Religion and the reorientation of American Liberal Judaism, while also serving as Senior Advisor at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Visiting Rabbi at Dartmouth College. She has contributed to numerous anthologies, written and reported for Newsday and Minnesota Public Radio, and is co-editor of Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation (Rutgers University Press).
A graduate of Dartmouth College with a B.A. in History, Idelson received her rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR, her Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center, and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. She began her career as director of religious life at Vassar College, and prior to joining HUC-JIR, she also served as rabbi at Carleton and Macalester Colleges.
Shirley Idelson will succeed retiring Ellen Smith (Hornstein Director, 2012-2020) and Leonard Saxe (Hornstein Chair, 2018-2020).