Dr. Steven F. Windmueller was presented with the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service by Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, during services attended by the HUC-JIR Board of Governors on March 9, 2009 at the HUC-JIR/Los Angeles campus.
“A gifted teacher, writer, and commentator on trends in the American Jewish community, Dr. Steven Windmueller has pioneered significant research and studies of Jewish community relations agencies, Latino-Jewish relations in Los Angeles, the practice of Jewish community relations, and Jewish political behavior. In presenting him with the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service, established in honor of the past President of the College-Institute and founder of HUC-JIR’s School of Jewish Communal Service, we recognize Dr. Windmueller’s great contributions to our students, Communal Service program, and the larger Jewish community,” said Rabbi Ellenson.
Dr. Windmueller was appointed Dean the HUC-JIR/Los Angeles campus by President Ellenson in June 2006, after serving as Director of HUC-JIR’s School of Jewish Communal Service since 1995 and holding a number of prominent positions within the Jewish community during a thirty-year-long professional career. Most recently, he served for a decade as the Executive Director of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. Dr. Windmueller previously served for twelve years as a Federation Director in upstate New York. He began his professional career on the staff of the American Jewish Committee.
A specialist on political issues and American Jewish affairs, Dr. Windmueller holds a doctorate in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and has held academic appointments at several major institutions of higher learning. He has appeared on CNN, PBS, NBC, and other nationally syndicated media, offering commentaries on Jewish public affairs matters. During his professional service, Dr. Windmueller has consulted with government officials and political candidates and has had occasion to represent the Jewish community on various international missions.
A prolific author, his articles and monographs have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Sh’ma and Moment magazine, the Jerusalem Letter, and the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, and other publications, and he has contributed a number of articles to recent books on Jewish public policy and leadership issues. His Pew-funded research on the major national Jewish community relations agencies appeared in a recent publication, Jewish Polity and American Civil Society: Communal Agencies and Religious Movements in the American Public Square (Roman and Littlefield, 2002). Dr. Windmueller received a grant in 1999 from the John Randolph Haynes Foundation to undertake the first major study of Latino-Jewish relations in Los Angeles. Key elements of this research have appeared in various publications, including a recent book, California Jews. In 2004, he produced a textbook on the practice of Jewish community relations, entitled You Shall Not Stand Idly By, published by the American Jewish Committee. In early 2005, Dr. Windmueller collaborated with Professor Gerald Bubis in producing the first study on the formation of the UJC (United Jewish Communities), entitled Predictability to Chaos?? How American Jewish Leaders Reinvented their National Jewish Communal System. His work in 2007 on “The Second American Jewish Revolution” has appeared in several different publications; this research was followed by a 2008 article, entitled “A Jewish Perspective on the Global Economic Revolution” which was published by USC’s Casden Institute, Annual Review, Volume 6. This past year, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where Dr. Windmueller serves as a Fellow, released his study on “Jewish Communities of the West.” Currently, he is writing about Jewish political behavior, having released several studies on Jewish voting patterns, including a December 2003 article entitled “Are American Jews Becoming Republican? Insights into Jewish Political Behavior,” which was released by the Jerusalem Center.
At HUC-JIR Dr. Windmueller is engaged in teaching, writing about issues affecting the Jewish community, and serving as a national consultant to Jewish and non-Jewish institutions. Active in the Jewish community, he currently serves on various community boards. He is married to Dr. Michelle Pearlman Windmueller.
The Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service was made possible by a generous challenge gift from Joseph Neubauer, Chairman of Aramark. The gift was matched by contributions from members of HUC-JIR’s Boards of Governors and Overseers, alumni, donors, and friends of the College-Institute and of Dr. Gottschalk.
Click here for Dr. Steven Windmueller’s address upon being presented with the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service.
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk
Born in Oberwesel, Germany in 1930, Dr. Alfred Gottschalk fled Nazi Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1939, just weeks prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. A graduate of Boys High School in Brooklyn and Brooklyn College (1952), he was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1957. Dr. Gottschalk was appointed Acting Dean (1958) and Dean (1959) of HUC-JIR's newly established Los Angeles campus and received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1965. In 1971 he succeeded Dr. Nelson Glueck as the sixth President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. During his tenure as President (1971-1996), Dr. Gottschalk advanced the growth of HUC-JIR's academic programs and campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York. He established the first School of Jewish Communal Service in America, opened the Rabbinical and Cantorial Schools to women, ordained the first woman rabbi in America in 1972 and invested the first woman cantor in America in 1975, inaugurated the program to train Israelis for the Reform rabbinate in Israel and ordained the first woman rabbi in Israel in 1992.
A scholar of Jewish intellectual history and a leading authority on Ahad Ha'Am, the leader of cultural Zionism, Dr. Gottschalk is the Distinguished Professor of Bible and Jewish Religious Thought, the John and Marianne Slade Professor of Jewish Intellectual History, and Chancellor Emeritus at HUC-JIR. In addition to his numerous articles, Dr. Gottschalk is the author of Your Future as a Rabbi - A Calling That Counts (1967; 1989), Ahad Ha-Am as Biblical Critic - A Profile (1970), and co-editor of Beyond Survival and Philanthropy: American Jewry and Israel (2000).
President Carter appointed Dr. Gottschalk to the President's Commission on the Holocaust in 1979 and to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in 1980, where he chaired the Council's Academic Committee, stepped in as Acting Chairman of the Council in 1986, and continues to serve as a member of the Council's Academic Committee and Committee on Conscience. He served as President of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York and continues to serve on its Board.