ow in its 28 th year, the Israel Rabbinical Program has matured to
have forty students preparing for careers of leadership for the
Progressive Movement in Israel. The Program’s exponential growth
attests to the flourishing of the Reform Movement in Israel, the positive
attributes that liberal Judaism presents to contemporary Israelis seeking
spiritual lives, and the burgeoning number of Israeli congregations,
schools, organizations, and programs in need of skilled and visionary
Reform leadership.
On November 21 st , four new rabbis were ordained at HUC-JIR’s
Jerusalem campus before an audience of Israeli and international
Jewish leaders. Each ordinee’s path to ordination reflects the
uniqueness of his or her personal journey, as well as a shared
commitment to a life of service to the Jewish people:
Gilad Kariv, 30 years old, is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Hebrew
University, served in the “Talpiot” project of the Israel Defense Forces
Intelligence Corps, and clerked for Israel’s State Attorney’s Office. He
has been the student rabbi of Beit Daniel Congregation, initiated the
Young Adult Leadership Forum for the Israel Movement for Progressive
Judaism, and now serves as Director of the Public and Social Policy
Department of the Israeli Religious Action Center, where he plays a
senior role in developing and enhancing IRAC’s activities in the field of
social justice, its assistance for underprivileged groups in Israeli
society, and its interaction with organizations representing segments of
the population with special needs. Gilad also serves as a member of
the board of the Joint Institute for Jewish Studies and as a member of
the board of Hemdat, the Israel Association for the Promotion of
Freedom of Science, Religion, and Culture.
Haim Otto Rechnitzer, 40 years old, studied jazz at the Rubin Academy
of Music. He completed his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Hebrew
University in the Jewish Philosophy department. His doctoral thesis
examined the philosophy of Leo Strauss. The desire to combine
academic research with educational and cultural action led him to join
the Jerusalem Fellows program at the Mandel School, and later the
Israeli Rabbinical Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Haim served for five
years as a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and also worked as
a research assistant at the Israel Democracy Institute. He currently
teaches Jewish philosophy and trains teachers and educators in formal
and informal frameworks.
Galia Riva Sadan, 36 years old, grew up on Kibbutz Yechiam, a kibbutz
of the Artzi movement in the Western Galilee, and as a member of
Hashomer Hatzair. Her encounter with the youth movement of the Israel
Movement for Progressive Judaism led Galia to Kibbutz Lotan in the
Arava and ultimately to join the Movement. A graduate of the
departments of Hebrew Literature and Linguistics at Tel Aviv University,
she is completing her M.A. thesis in Hebrew Literature on
Seder Olam
an epic work by the 11th century poet Shlomo Ben
Yehuda Gaon. Galia has coordinated the
Bar/Bat Mitzvah
program at
Kol Haneshama Congregation for several years, and has served as the
student rabbi at Achvat Israel Congregation in Rishon Lezion. She
currently leads the program at Beit Daniel Congregation which seeks to
involve target groups (
Bnai Mitzvah
families, converts, and others) in
the full range of activities offered by the synagogue, and serves as the
rabbi in IMPJ congregations in the north of Israel — a position that
includes the development of new congregations as well as supervision
of well-established ones.
Vered Sakal, 34 years old, served in the Israel Defense Forces and
worked as an instructor at the Har Hanegev Field School of the Society
for the Protection of Nature in Israel, where she led treks and
encouraged visitors to love the land of Israel, particularly the desert.
She is a graduate of the departments of General and Jewish Philosophy
at Tel Aviv University and holds her M.A. from Hebrew University in
management of community organizations and
NGO’s and is completing her M.A. in Jewish
Philosophy there. Vered currently serves as the
rabbi of a new congregation in Givatayim.
These extraordinary individuals now join the
nearly 4000 alumni of the College-Institute in
making a difference in our world and ensuring
a vital Jewish future.
Annual Report
Page 15
For a Flourishing Future:
Four New Rabbis
for Israel’s Progressive Movement
Rabbis Haim Rechnitzer, Gilad Kariv, David Ellenson,
Vered Sakal, and Galia Sadan at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem’s
Ordination Convocation