On July 1, the College-Institute welcomes two new deans: Rabbi Michael Marmur (a 1992 ordinee in HUC-JIR's Israel Rabbinic Program) who will succeed Dr. Michael Klein as Dean of HUC-JIR's Jerusalem School; and Rabbi Aaron Panken (ordained in 1991 in New York) who, after two years as Dean of Students of our New York School, will now serve as Dean of the New York School.
"Rabbis Marmur and Panken represent the next generation of gifted leadership and we are proud that they have chosen the College-Institute as their career choice," stated Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, HUC-JIR President. "It is imperative that we replenish our academic leadership from among the best and brightest of our graduates, so that future generations of students will benefit from the highest level of intellect and guidance."
Rabbi Michael Marmur is one of the first non-native-born graduates of the College-Institute's Israel Rabbinic Program. He holds an M.A. in Jewish History from Hebrew University and a B.A. in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He is completing his Ph.D. dissertation on Abraham Joshua Heschel through the University of Haifa.
Rabbi Marmu served for six years as Rabbi of the Ohel Avraham Congregation at the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa, where he also served as a teacher and member of the Executive Board. During his years at Leo Baeck, Rabbi Marmur was involved in a major review of the Jewish Studies curriculum. He also served as Deputy Chair of the Israel Assembly of Progressive Rabbis and Chair of the Ideological Committee of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, charged with re-writing the platform of Israeli Reform.
Born in England in 1962, he has lived in Israel since 1984. He serves in the Israel Defense Forces as a Military Policeman.
Rabbi Aaron Panken's responsibilities as Dean of Students have included supervision of all admissions, recruitment, student financial aid, senior rabbinic placement for the New York School, student activities, co-curricular programs, and student counseling for rabbinic, cantorial and education students at the College-Institute's New York School.
Rabbi Panken is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in Talmud and Rabbinic Literature at New York University. He serves as an adjunct member of the rabbinic faculty at the College-Institute. Ordained at the College-Institute in 1991, he served as Assistant and Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City from 1991-95. He worked extensively with students during his tenure at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, as a student rabbi at Columbia University, and as a Youth Director for Reform Movement camps and youth programs.
Rabbi Panken's research interests include Aggadic texts in historical context, redaction of Mishnah and Talmuds, the development of synagogue and liturgy in early Judaism, and methods of rabbinic exegesis and hermeneutics. He has published on germ cell gene therapy in Reform Jewish Ethics and the Halakhah.
Rabbi Panken received the Master of Hebrew Letters degree from the College-Institute in 1989. He is a 1985 graduate of Johns Hopkins University, with a B.E.S. in Electrical Engineering, and served as an Electronic/Biomedical Engineering Research Assistant at the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He is an instrument rated pilot.