Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism

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Rabbi Stephen S. Wise

In 2012, in celebration of the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1922 by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Free Synagogue, the New York campus kicked off a year of events honoring our past, giving gratitude for all that our community has become, and committing ourselves to continue the spirit of JIR as we look to the future. We looked with hope to our students, who represent the future religious leadership of Reform and liberal Judaism.  We urged them to be Wise – to think imaginatively in relation to the needs of our contemporary Jewish community .  

Through the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism, we dared students to make real their own vision for liberal Judaism of the twenty-first century.  Students were challenged to design a project that would promote entrepreneurialism and bring a spirit of innovation and creativity to campus by exploring and experimenting with community-building and outreach techniques.  Students submitted proposals to the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism Committee outlining the need or problem they intended to address, what they hoped to achieve, and how the project carried on the work of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and his vision for the Jewish Institute of Religion.  

Now in its third year, the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism provides an opportunity for students to explore our history and to further Wise's legacy by conceptualizing and carrying out bold and creative initiatives that respond to the needs of contemporary Jewry.  Students are invited to work individually or in groups to design a project that will promote entrepreneurialism  and bring a spirit of innovation and creativity to campus as well as showcase the values upon which Rabbi Stephen S. Wise founded the Jewish Institute of Religion that are still part of the New York campus culture.

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein, Coordinator, Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism

We are pleased to welcome Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein as Coordinator of the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish EntrepreneurialismRabbi Rubinstein is the Director of Jewish Community and the Director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the 92Y, a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center serving the Jewish community and beyond in New York City and around the world. He is also serving as an advisor to and member of the Board of Directors of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Rabbi Rubinstein is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Central Synagogue in New York City, a Reform congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism.  He served as the congregation's Senior Rabbi from 1991 to 2014. Prior to his position in New York, Rabbi Rubinstein was the Rabbi of Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, CA, and Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, NY.

Rabbi Rubinstein graduated from Amherst College from which he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English having written his senior thesis under both the English and Religion Departments.  He was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, with a Master of Hebrew Letters degree with honors.  He spent three years as the Herbert R. Bloch Memorial Fellow at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati specializing in the history of the Jewish community during the second commonwealth.  Rabbi Rubinstein has held teaching positions at Manhattanville College, Colgate University and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion both in New York and Cincinnati.

In addition to his professional affiliations and responsibilities Rabbi Rubinstein presently serves as the co-chair of the Partnership of Faith in New York City and on the Rabbinic Board of Overseers of the HUC-JIR. He is the founder of the Rabbinic Vision Initiative (RVI) which he organized to urge and support the institutions of the Reform Movement to pursue continuing and bold initiatives and institutional change. He is also co-founder and co-chair of the Rabbinic Circle of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He also sits on the New York Board of Directors of the American Jewish Committee.

From its inception until it was discontinued Rabbi Rubinstein was listed among Newsweek's 50 most influential rabbis in the United States, listed as #3 in its last year. In 2014 he was listed among the 28 most inspiration Rabbis in the country by the Forward. Rabbi Rubinstein is immediate past- Chair of the Board of Directors of the Auburn Theological Seminary, an historical Presbyterian seminary specializing in continuing education and multi-faith conversation. 

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For Further Information > Please contact  Rabbi David Adelson, Dean, HUC-JIR/New York, at