Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, has appointed Rabbi Richard Levy as Rabbi of the Campus Synagogue and Director of Spiritual Growth, a full-time position effective July 1, 2009. In this capacity, he will continue to direct the worship program as well as teach and offer advisement in areas of liturgy and student spiritual development. He will be stepping down as Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies at the Los Angeles campus after ten years in that post, during which time he coordinated the program leading to the first ordination of Reform rabbis in Los Angeles. Rabbi Levy will be succeeded by Professor Dvora Weisberg, Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Director of the Lainer Beit Midrash at HUC-JIR/ Los Angeles.
"Rabbi Levy has served as a spiritual mentor to many of our students during his tenure as school director and in his capacity as a teacher and resource to students in all of our three graduate professional training programs," said Rabbi Ellenson. "Drawing from his own career as a Hillel rabbi and administrator, Richard has provided to the Los Angeles campus an in-depth understanding pertaining to the challenges of Jewish professional life. During his tenure as CCAR President, he challenged his colleagues and our congregations in revisiting the core principles of Reform Judaism, setting an example for his students about the qualities and scope of leadership. Over the course of his tenure at the College-Institute, Rabbi Levy has shared his spiritual creativity and intellectual capacities with his colleagues and students through his writings, lectures and teachings."
"It has been an honor to direct the Los Angeles rabbinical school in these formative years of the Ordination program, the realization of a dream of a generation of students, faculty, and rabbinical colleagues on the West Coast," said Rabbi Levy. "I know that Dr. Weisberg, a gifted teacher, scholar and administrator, will continue to advance that dream in profound and creative ways. I am greatly looking forward to the next stage of this work, which is the opportunity to deepen the prayer life and spiritual resources of our students that they in turn may expand the spiritual sensitivities of the people whom they will serve. Our aim is not only to train rabbis in academic and professional pursuits, but to assist them to see the workings of God in their studies, their internships, their contributions to social justice, and their conduct in everyday life. I hope to work with students and faculty in all our professional schools to help them realize the spiritual dimensions of their calling. I appreciate very much this invitation by the President, the Provost, and the Dean of the Los Angeles School to advance the College-Institute's mission in this vital realm."
Rabbi Levy is Lecturer on Judaic Studies, with expertise in liturgy and the theology of Reform Judaism. He served as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and was the architect of the Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism, the "Pittsburgh Principles," overwhelmingly passed at the May 1999 CCAR Convention. Prior to joining the HUC-JIR administration, Rabbi Levy was Executive Director of the Los Angeles Hillel Council.
He received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1959, was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1964, and received his Doctor of Divinity degree from HUC-JIR in 1989. His publications include A Vision of Holiness: The Future of Reform Judaism (URJ Press, 2005), On Wings of Freedom: The Hillel Haggadah (Ktav and Hillel, 2000), On Wings of Light: A Shabbat Evening Prayerbook (Ktav and Hillel, 2000) and On Wings of Awe: A High Holyday Machzor (Ktav, 1985), as well as numerous articles in Reform Judaism, the CCAR Journal, and the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.