Rabbi Marcus L. Burstein, D. Min., an esteemed rabbinical alumnus of the College-Institute, was inducted into the HUC-JIR Board of Governors at its meeting in Los Angeles on February 9, 2015.
“Rabbi Marcus Burstein has provided dynamic leadership on our Rabbinic Alumni Association, engaged his ordination classmates to provide vital scholarship support to our students, and provided invaluable mentorship to our rabbinical students in their student pulpits,” stated Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President. “His extensive expertise in pastoral care and counseling, coupled with his profound commitment to the Reform Movement and the Jewish people, is a source of inspiration as we advance HUC-JIR’s mission.”
Rabbi Burstein has provided the religious, educational, pastoral, and communal leadership in congregations ranging in size from 25 households to over 1375 households, holding rabbinical positions at Jewish Family Congregation currently and previously at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY and Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, where he has mentored HUC-JIR’s student rabbis. At the Union for Reform Judaism (2007-2012), he served as rabbinical specialist to over 100 Reform congregations in the Northeast for issues of rabbinical transition, synagogue administration, staffing, programming, long-range planning, fund raising, and crisis management while also supervising URJ regional staff. He also has served as pastoral counselor at Creative Living Counseling Center in Allendale, NJ, and was a Chaplain Candidate at the United States Air Force Academy, advising individuals and couples on issues of infertility, miscarriage, adoption, death, depression, eating disorders, addiction, suicide, divorce, family dynamics and other issues.
Ordained at HUC-JIR in New York in 1999, Rabbi Burstein received the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from HUC-JIR in 2004. His doctoral project was to design and implement a series of discussion groups with cross-racially and internationally adopted children around b’nei mitzvah age and their parents. He received the B.A. in Psychology in Spanish, cum laude, from Rutgers College (1993) and the Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR (1997).
Rabbi Burstein is Vice President of the HUC-JIR Rabbinic Alumni Association (2012 to present); Representative to the HUC-JIR Alumni Leadership Council (2010-2012); 5-Year and Class Captain of the HUC-JIR Invest-in-a-Student Campaign; Student Outreach Coordinator (2007-2010), and HUC-JIR Rabbinical School Field Mentor (2001 to present). He serves as an Ethical Mentor of the CCAR Committee on Ethics and Appeals (2012 to present) and on the CCAR’s Interim Rabbi Training (2011-12). He currently serves on the Westchester Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Burstein’s publications include Guest Editor at the CCAR Journal (Winter 2011) for Finding Our Path: Becoming a Rabbi After Ordination; online Torah commentary on Parshat Vayechi for Torah Chayim; “Dealings with Our Feelings” in The American Rabbi; and Rabbinic Counsel for Puertas de Unidad, the Trilingual Reform Jewish Siddur in Hebrew, Spanish, and English (Costa Rica).
Among Rabbi Burstein’s honors and awards are the Alan N. Weisman Memorial Prize in Homiletics (HUC-JIR, 1997), Gerald M. Meyers Prize in Chaplaincy Service (HUC-JIR, 1997), Louise Arnold Prize in Human Relations (HUC-JIR, 1996), David G. Sacks Scholarship Prize for General Academic Excellence (HUC-JIR, 1995), and his election to Phi Beta Kappa (Rutgers College, 1993).