Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, has announced that Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot, Ph.D., has been appointed to the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion as Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual History at the New York Campus. An emerging scholar in the field of modern Jewish intellectual history, Rabbi Skloot will begin his appointment as of July 1, 2018. Rabbi Skloot currently serves as Associate Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation, a 2,500-family congregation in Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Panken stated, “Rabbi Skloot is an esteemed alumnus and brilliant academic whose commitment to scholarship, devotion to Jewish leadership, and dedication to social justice reflects the highest values of our institution and the Reform Movement. We are delighted to welcome him back to the campus where he was once a student and was ordained in 2010, and where he will share his gifts of intellect and rabbinical care with his students, the next generation of Jewish clergy and educational leaders.”
Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, HUC-JIR, added, “Rabbi Skloot embodies many of the finest traditions and sensibilities of our institution. As a student at HUC-JIR, his qualities of mind and heart shone with brilliance. As a graduate, he has been engaged in translating the principles of Reform Judaism into lived reality. We are thrilled that he will be rejoining our community as a member of the faculty.”
Rabbi Skloot received his Ph.D. in Jewish History at Columbia University (2017), where he received his M.A. in History (2011). His dissertation, entitled, “Printing, Hebrew Book Culture and Sefer Ḥasidim,” explores the effects of printing on Hebrew texts during the sixteenth century. He received the M.A.H.L. (2009) and rabbinical ordination (2010) at HUC-JIR, where his thesis was entitled, “The Stunning Controversy: Marcus Horovitz and Jewish Animal Slaughter.” He received his A.B. in History, cum laude, at Princeton University (2005). His thesis at Princeton was entitled, “Moses of Hamilton Terrace: The Hertz Torah Commentary in Context and Interpretation.”
He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Jacob K. Javits Graduate Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education; the Weinrib Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at Columbia University; the Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization Graduate Fellowship at Cardozo Law School; the Tisch Rabbinic Fellowship at HUC-JIR; and the Kenneth Christopher Harris Award for Service to the Moral and Ethical Life of Princeton University, among many others.
Rabbi Skloot has taught as an adjunct faculty member at HUC-JIR in New York since 2016. His writing has been featured in two CCAR Press anthologies: The Sacred Table and Lights in the Forest. His conference presentations include “Blood and Guts in Jewish Law: The Laws of the Forbidden and the Permitted and Religious Norms in Rabbi Moses Isserles’ Glosses on the Shulchan Aruch” at the “Norms and Normativity in History” conference at the Paris-Sorbonne University. He is the Chair of the Worship and Practice Committee of the CCAR and served as an Editorial Advisor to Reform Judaism magazine. While a student at Princeton, he was a Co-Convener and Fellow of the Religious Life Council, a multi-faith dialogue group on campus.
During his rabbinical studies, Rabbi Skloot was a rabbinical intern at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY, and Congregational B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT. He was also a chaplain intern at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA. He taught in HUC-JIR’s Miller High School Program in New York, at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, and at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, and was an education specialist and song-leader at URJ Eisner Camp.
A social activist, he has sought to engage young people in his congregation in direct service and foster interfaith dialogue through partnerships with DC-area faith communities and organizations. As a rabbinical student, he introduced Muslim high school students to concepts in Jewish history and culture as a lecturer in Abraham’s Vision Unity Program in New York, volunteered at HUC-JIR’s Soup Kitchen in New York and at the Ben-Maimon Ethiopian Immigrant Absorption Center in Mevesseret Zion, Israel, and was a presenter and delegate at the World Parliament of Religions in Barcelona, Spain. He is proficient in classical, rabbinic, and modern Hebrew, French, Italian, and German.