Testimonials - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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From Colleagues

Andrew Rehfeld is an outstanding leader.  I have known him both as a distinguished academician at Washington University and as the leader of the Jewish Federation in St. Louis.  He is a person of high integrity; is an articulate and compelling communicator; and works well with people at all levels.  His leadership has had a positive impact on Washington University and on the entire St. Louis community and beyond.  Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has chosen its 13th President wisely, and I look forward to following the contributions of Dr. Rehfeld as he advances the mission of the College-Institute.
Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis

Andrew Rehfeld and I joined Washington University in St. Louis’ political science faculty around the same time, and I am proud to call him an esteemed colleague, eminent scholar, and close friend. Andrew is an outstanding choice to serve as president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where I am confident he will continue to do life-changing work. During his 17-year tenure at Washington University, Andrew was a dedicated faculty member in political science and law, but perhaps more importantly, he played an integral role in forging relationships between WashU and the local Jewish community; cultivating a sense of community among our Jewish students, faculty and staff; and fostering inter-religious dialogue across campus. While we are devastated to see Andrew leave the Washington University and St. Louis communities, we are thrilled to see him take this next step and are honored he devoted 17 years in service to WashU.
Andrew D. Martin, Chancellor-designate, Washington University in St. Louis

Andrew Rehfeld is an extraordinary intellectual and academic leader with deep experience as a beloved teacher and scholar. He also has masterful administrative and fundraising experience. He has a nuanced and deeply respectful understanding of the workings and values of both rigorous higher education and dynamic Jewish intellectual life. Add to that a joyful sense of humor and a commitment to institutions over self, and you have a wonderful new President for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Kent Syverud, Chancellor, Syracuse University

Andrew Rehfeld is an inspired choice to be the next president of HUC-JIR. He is a wonderful teacher and a scholar of the first-order, having made major contributions to democratic theory and especially to our conceptual understanding of representation and legitimacy. But he is also a visionary Jewish communal leader, as evidenced by his courageous and exceptionally successful work leading the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. I can think of no better choice for a school dedicated to the values of academic rigor and innovation for Jewish life and learning than a scholar and leader like Andrew, who so fully embodies them both.
Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Sydney Stein Professor; Deputy Dean, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Andrew Rehfeld has been a treasure to the St. Louis region. His commitment to creating partnerships and collaborations across religious, political, and professional groups is widely known and has contributed a great deal to countless organizations and people within the community, including the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. As the CEO of the Jewish Federation, he has come to me with more great ideas than I can count, and his initiatives for bring inspiring speakers to St. Louis have reaped enormous success. Andrew is also very highly regarded as a scholar and a teacher, and his work among students and faculty at Washington University in St. Louis has simply been stellar. While I will miss my good friend and colleague as he departs the region, I am confident that he will flourish in his enormously exciting new role as President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
R. Marie Griffith, John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities Director, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Washington University in St. Louis

Congratulations to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on the selection of Andrew Rehfeld as its new President.  It is a truly inspired choice.  Andrew brings to this position a record of renowned scholarship, critical acumen, superb, inspiring teaching, and deep familiarity with American Jewish institutional life.  I know that he will lead HUC-JIR with confidence, foresight, and purpose.
Hillel J. Kieval, Ph.D., Goldstein Professor of Jewish History and Thought, Washington University in St. Louis

A brilliant political theorist, Andrew Rehfeld studies the design of just political and social institutions, those which fairly represent the diverse interests of large communities. Having spent the past several years seeking to reflect these aims in his leadership of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Rehfeld will no doubt bring these commitments - along with his myriad talents - to the presidency of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Melissa Schwartzberg, Silver Professor of Politics, New York University

Andrew Rehfeld's professional career combines serious academic and intellectual prowess with profound insights into building and sustaining 21st century Jewish communities in America and around the world. He brings to the presidency of HUC-JIR the widest perspective on Jewish life, honed from growing up in the Reform Movement and enriched by working with Jews from across the denominational spectrum. He has both the loyalty and commitment of an insider, as well as the fresh and daring approach of an outsider. He is a fitting successor to the extraordinary leaders of the College who served before him.  
Rabbi Leon A. Morris, President, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies


From the St. Louis Jewish Community

In serving as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis over the past six years, Andrew has been a visionary and transformational leader.  Under his leadership, the Federation has grown to be a strong, collaborative community foundation and services organization, effectively serving not only the Jewish community but the larger St. Louis region as well.  We will miss Andrew but recognize that becoming President of HUC-JIR affords him a unique opportunity to have a national and, indeed, international impact on the Jewish world.  We wish Andrew all the best.
Gerald P. Greiman, Board Chair, Federation of St. Louis

When we recruited Andrew in 2012 to be the CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, like HUC-JIR, we also made an unconventional selection.  We recognized that his intellectual curiosity, his ability to listen, and his demonstrated commitment to Jewish life would be key to his success. Andrew exceeded all of our expectations.  He has created a culture of open and collaborative leadership throughout the community, one that supports the work of others and celebrates Jewish life in all of its diversity, inspiring people to engage in our tradition as part of their lives, well lived. Andrew has a sophisticated ability to understand and respect a diverse range of viewpoints on sensitive topics that has significantly improved the quality of civil discourse in our community and through his public writing, well beyond.  I saw this ability to navigate and bring people together during our trips together to Israel: where others might shy away from hard topics, Andrew addressed them directly, with sensitivity and respect.  His public writings about Israel reflect that same willingness to confront hard topics in a sensitive and respectful manner. I am confident that this appointment will also be great for HUC-JIR.  And I am proud of St. Louis’s role in helping shape the future leadership of the institution and by extension, the Jewish People globally.
Bob Millstone, Board Chair, Jewish Federation of St. Louis (2011-13); Managing Partner, Millstone Capital Advisors

Andrew Rehfeld has transformed the Jewish community of St. Louis.  Since serving as the President of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, he has broken down barriers between local organizations that have existed for generations, always serving as an unbiased, impartial mediator who can bring together the most disparate voices.  Rabbis of all denominations, lay leaders, and local institutions all see him as our advocate and ally.  With his intellect, leadership skills and deep love for Judaism, he brings new insights to age old problems. He has led this city through tremendous civic upheaval, brought us comfort through anti-Semitic attacks, and inspired us to have courage in a divided political climate.  Yet with all of his tremendous skills and authority, he has a humility and desire to be involved on the most personal, grass roots levels of the Jewish community, and that may be where he is at his best.  He is as comfortable speaking in front of a crowd of thousands as he is picking up his guitar and leading our Children's Services on the High Holidays.  He inspires every day.  I cannot think of a better person to help move HUC-JIR into the next generation.
Rabbi Amy Feder, Congregation Temple Israel, St. Louis, MO

The appointment of Dr. Andrew Rehfeld as the next President of HUC-JIR puts just the right person in the right place at the right time. He is a brilliant thoughtful scholar, talented in engagement and development as well as a critical and devoted congregant comfortable with all denominations of Judaism and committed to his own Reform Judaism. Dr. Rehfeld has all the qualities needed to face the challenges of today as part of the leadership team of the Reform movement, to build on our past and guide the College-Institute into a meaningful and relevant future. 
Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation, St. Louis, MO


From the Search Committee

We are honored and delighted to welcome Andrew Rehfeld as our new President.  A distinguished academic and creative thought leader, Andrew is uniquely qualified intellectually, spiritually, and professionally to lead the College-Institute in our mission to transform the Jewish community and the broader world.  Andrew brings to HUC-JIR a passion for teaching and scholarship, as well as exemplary leadership skills that have set him apart as a dynamic visionary and community builder.
Joy G. Greenberg, Chair of the HUC-JIR Presidential Search Committee; Member, Board of Governors, HUC-JIR

Andrew Rehfeld brings to HUC-JIR a deep personal commitment to Reform Judaism and Jewish values, a profound understanding of academic excellence and the mission and impact of Jewish nonprofit institutions, demonstrated success in ensuring financial sustainability, and an entrepreneurial spirit of innovation.  We look forward to his building upon the vision of his predecessor, Rabbi Aaron Panken, of blessed memory, as he leads HUC-JIR in meeting the challenges of the Jewish future in North America, Israel, and around the world.
Sue Neuman Hochberg, Chair, Board of Governors, HUC-JIR

I am thrilled with the selection of Dr. Andrew Rehfeld to be the next President of HUC-JIR. An outstanding academic and accomplished Jewish communal leader, he possesses a galvanizing capacity for strategic vision and a deep dedication to the Reform movement. He impressed the search committee with his clear-eyed and cogent perspective on both the challenges and profound promise of the College-Institute. His intellectual creativity is manifest in both his impressive academic achievements and the strategic agility with which he has led other programs and institutions. He has inspired students within and beyond the classroom at Washington University, led and motivated staff and lay leadership at the St. Louis Federation, and impressed colleagues across the country with his combination of leadership skill, management insight, fundraising and budgetary prowess, and intellectual and personal attachment to the richness of the Jewish tradition. Dr. Rehfeld is an unconventional choice for our beloved College-Institute, and precisely the right one. Following in the tradition of his illustrious predecessors, he will inspire students and faculty, and steward and build the resources to keep HUC-JIR strong. He is a leader for our time who will guide us with vision and creativity towards a bright and beckoning future.
Rabbi David Stern, Senior Rabbi, Temple Emanu-El of Dallas; President, Central Conference of American Rabbis; Board of Governors, HUC-JIR

HUC-JIR has a long and honored history of extraordinary leadership spanning almost 150 years.  Each leader has brought our College-Institute gifts and vision that have enabled us to become the premier academy of progressive Judaism in the world.  The selection of Dr. Andrew Rehfeld honors that history and creates excitement for the future of our illustrious institution.  Dr. Rehfeld is an exceptional scholar and a committed Reform Jew.  He has an exciting, forward thinking vision for our future as a center of thought leadership training in America and Israel.  Having served as a leader of a major Jewish community, Dr. Rehfeld brings with him a passion for building Jewish community and partnerships that will strengthen our four campuses, our alumni community, and world Jewish community at large.  His exceptional scholarship combined with his proven executive skills in fundraising and management make him uniquely qualified to guide and secure the future of the College-Institute during this transformational period of Jewish history.  I am excited by his selection and look forward to welcoming him and working with him to achieve our strategic goals, as a member of the Board of Governors, the Los Angeles Board of Overseers, and alumna of HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Amy R. Perlin, D.D., Founding Rabbi Emerita, Temple B’nai Shalom, Fairfax Station, VA; Board of Governors, HUC-JIR

I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Andrew Rehfeld as president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Dr. Rehfeld is uniquely positioned to collaborate with our movement partners, and he cares deeply about amplifying the unique strengths of the College-Institute to the broader community. His passion for strong, meaningful community, dedication to higher education, and bold vision will bring the College-Insitute to new heights. Dr. Rehfeld is an advocate for all of HUC-JIR’s many graduate programs, and understands the myriad ways to be a leader in the Jewish community and in the world. The Alumni Leadership Council stands proudly, ready to partner with Dr. Rehfeld to sustain and invigorate the College-Institute.
Rachel Margolis, RJE, Chair, Alumni Leadership Council; Board of Governors, HUC-JIR

From the first moment that we met with Andrew Rehfeld, there was a sense of excitement, of possibility, of a presence that filled the room with uncommon intelligence, focus, engagement, and originality.  Here was a serious, thorough, creative, and bold thinker who was looking at us and our future in a way we had not previously encountered.  He acknowledged what he did not know and yet, that self-knowledge made our interaction even more intriguing and compelling.  He is a proud and accomplished academic and, simultaneously, has a talent for organization, administration, fiscal oversight, and institutional management.  He is a multi-talented, multi-faceted, multi-interested individual.  He is charismatic, down-to-earth, authentic, and humble.  He did not shy away from difficult issues.  Rather, he inspired us and made us feel that together we can meet any challenge. I am excited that he has been selected as the 13th President of my beloved alma mater and if all of his intellectual, personal, social, and spiritual gifts were not enough – he sings!!!  So let us together sing a new song of gratitude and eager anticipation!
Cantor Sarah Sager, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Beachwood, OH; Board of Governors, HUC-JIR

Over the last several months, I have had the honor of representing the HUC-JIR student body as a member of the Presidential Search Committee, whose members were eager to hear student perspectives through this process. Across our four campuses, student leaders forwarded students’ ideas, concerns, and visions for the future of HUC-JIR and Reform Judaism. They wanted an inspirational and courageous leader to guide us into the future, someone steeped in the Reform Jewish world whose own life served as a model for the balance we all walk between tradition and innovation. They asked for a proven leader, teacher, fund raiser, and mentor. They sought a person with an eye toward increasing diversity, raising money for student scholarships, and partnering with organizations across the Jewish world. Dr. Andrew Rehfeld, an individual of outstanding character and moral courage, is that person. I cannot wait for all of you to get to know him.
Hilly Haber, Fifth-year Rabbinical Student



From the Reform Movement

In its remarkable 143-year history, there have been only 12 presidents of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). The announcement today of the election of Dr. Andrew Rehfeld as the 13th president ushers in an exciting new era for the College-Institute. We are so pleased and energized to see HUC-JIR entering this new chapter of its history with boldness, vision, and a clear commitment to excellence. Andrew brings so much to the College-Institute. He’s a visionary Jewish leader, an influential scholar, and a powerful voice for pluralism in the North American Jewish community. He knows how to lead a complex institution, and he knows how to inspire individuals. Anyone who has heard him song-lead knows he possesses spiritual passion that is also at the heart of his leadership. As HUC-JIR, and the entire Jewish community, strives to reach the majority of North American Jews who have yet to connect meaningfully to Jewish life, Andrew brings successful experience doing just that in St. Louis. Much has changed since the 19th century, when the Hebrew Union College was founded to provide leadership for the then-nascent Reform Movement. What has not changed is the need for visionary and bold leadership. I am confident that Andrew is exactly the right person to lead HUC-JIR in smartly adapting to the new landscape of 21st-century Jewish life. I look forward to working closely with President Rehfeld in shaping a bright future for our movement.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism

Dr. Rehfeld is a lifelong, dedicated Reform Jew with deep roots at our camps and congregations. He understands the power and diversity of our movement, and appreciates the important role congregations can, and must, play in the future. I know that every single member of our North American Board was stirred by Dr. Rehfeld’s powerful Shabbat morning teaching during our meeting in St. Louis in 2016. The themes he sounded then – the embrace of Reform Judaism's commitment to reason and critical inquiry, the importance of involving our entire community in the work of building our future, and the clarion call to reach out to the unaffiliated in our communities and reduce barriers to their participation in Jewish life – only ring truer today. I am sure these topics will also serve to inspire an agenda for the College-Institute in this new chapter. I look forward to continuing to partner with him and the College-Institute as we further strengthen Jewish life.
Daryl Messinger, Chair, North American Board, Union for Reform Judaism

Dr. Rehfeld is a creative intellectual who brings a strategic mindset to all his endeavors. His leadership skill, management insight, and personal contributions to the richness of the Jewish tradition will benefit both HUC-JIR and the Reform Movement at large.
Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive, CCAR


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