Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Rabbi Yoel H. Kahn with the Doctor of Divinity at Graduation Ceremonies in Los Angeles on Monday, May 17, 2010 at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles (3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles). Rabbi Kahn was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Kahn is Rabbi of Congregation Beth El, Berkeley’s Reform synagogue. A native of the Bay Area, Kahn was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1985. He received his Ph.D. through the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, in 1999. He was the rabbi of Congregation Sha-ar Zahav in San Francisco for more than a decade, and has served as Executive Director of Hillel at Stanford University on the faculty of the HUC-JIR, the Graduate Theological Union, and UC Davis. Before coming to Beth El, he was Associate Director for Arts, Ideas, and Jewish Life at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Rabbi Kahn is Board member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and has formerly served as the CCAR Responsa [Law] Committee, and of the Editorial Committees for the Reform movement’s new prayer book, Mishkan Tefilah.
Rabbi Kahn has published and spoken widely on Reform decision making, spirituality, and issues of sexuality, feminism, family, and homosexuality. He has taught at the conferences and conventions of the CCAR, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the American Academy of Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Stanford University, Merrimack College, and at synagogues and campuses around the country. His articles have appeared in Sh’ma, Bridges, CCAR Journal, Journal of Homosexuality, Out/Look, and other journals. His book, The Three Blessings: Boundaries, Censorship, and Identity in Jewish Liturgy,is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.