Rabbi David Ellenson Chosen by the Forward as one of the 50 Most Influential Members of the American Jewish Community - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Rabbi David Ellenson Chosen by the Forward as one of the 50 Most Influential Members of the American Jewish Community

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Monday, January 3, 2005

Three years after he reluctantly gave up the quiet life of an academic to accept the presidency of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi David Ellenson has emerged as a strong leader, a tireless fund raiser and a powerful voice within Reform Judaism for the issues he has long championed, including traditionalism and interdenominational dialogue. Ellenson, 57, the eighth president in the college's 125-year history, has made priorities of strengthening the institution's ties to Israel and building the endowment. Raised in an Orthodox home in Virginia, ordained at HUC's New York school in 1977, Ellenson was known chiefly as a scholar of modern Jewish intellectual history, specializing in the development of religious denominationalism over the last two centuries. His expertise serves him well in his new job; he's on good terms with leaders of other movements, and he was the only non-Orthodox rabbi invited to address a recent conference of rabbis and Catholic cardinals. And research has not stopped. His latest book, After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, published by HUC, came out only a month ago. 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu