Rabbi Aaron Panken has been appointed Dean of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's New York School by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, HUC-JIR President. Rabbi Panken will assume this position on July 1, after serving as Dean of Students at the New York School since 1996. "Rabbi Aaron Panken brings unique gifts, intelligence and vision to his new position and we look forward with great anticipation to the growth, development and enrichment of the New York School," stated Rabbi Zimmerman.
As Dean of Students, Rabbi Panken's responsibilities have included supervision of admissions, recruitment, student financial aid, and senior placement for the New York School. He has been deeply involved in student activities, co-curricular programs, and student counseling for rabbinic, cantorial and education students.
Rabbi Panken is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and in the final stages of Ph.D. candidacy in Talmud and Rabbinic Literature at New York University. He has served as an adjunct member of the rabbinic faculty at the College-Institute for four years. 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 rabbinic intern at Westchester Reform Temple and Columbia University, and as a Youth Director for Reform Movement camps, youth programs and Israel trips.
Rabbi Panken's research interests include Second Temple and Rabbinic literature and history, the ancient Jewish calendar, the development of synagogue and liturgy in early Judaism, and methods of rabbinic exegesis and hermeneutics. He has published on issues of modern bioethics 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 where he served as an Electronic/Biomedical Engineering Research Assistant at the Johns Hopkins Medical School.