Rabbi Reuven S. Greenvald has been appointed Director of the Year-In-Israel Program (YII) at HUC’s Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, effective February 1, 2021.
Rabbi Greenvald brings a wealth of experience in educational leadership and Israel engagement to this position. He comes to HUC from the Union for Reform Judaism, where he served as Director of Israel Engagement (2016-2020), advancing Israel and global Jewish programming across Reform Movement youth and congregational platforms as part of its senior leadership team. Previously, he served as Director of Israel Engagement for HUC/New York and The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) (2015-2016), where he spearheaded the integration of Israel engagement into professional training for future Jewish leaders.
Rabbi Greenvald served for eight years at the Jewish Agency for Israel as Director of Strategic Outreach in North America (2012-2015) and as Makom’s Director of North American Community Initiatives (2007-2012). Previously, he devoted his energies to developing the field of pluralistic Jewish day schools as head of school at Kehillah Jewish High School in Silicon Valley, and as upper school principal at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in the Washington, DC area. He spent two years as a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Israel, which is when his desire to work in Israel engagement began to take root. He has been a consultant to Encounter in New York and Israel, iCenter, Melton Research Center for Jewish Education (JTS), Avi Chai Foundation, and 92Y.
Rabbi Greenvald received received his B.A. (cum laude with distinction) in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.A. and rabbinical ordination from JTS. He has studied at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, the Hebrew University graduate program in Jewish studies, and in the doctoral program in educational policy and planning at the University of Maryland. He received the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, from JTS in 2011.
HUC President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., praised the selection of Rabbi Greenvald and stated, “Deeply experienced in the field of Israel engagement throughout his accomplished professional career, Rabbi Reuven Greenvald has the talent, expertise, and disposition to strengthen the YII program and enrich the Israel experience for the next generation of emerging Jewish clergy and educators.”
Established 50 years ago as a requirement of the first year of study for HUC’s rabbinical, cantorial, and education students, the YII has provided nearly three generations of Reform clergy and educators with a profound, personal, and informed relationship with the State of Israel and Jewish peoplehood.
As the new YII Director, Rabbi Greenvald looks forward to collaborating with the YII administrative team, Jerusalem faculty, stateside program directors, provost, and Taube Campus leadership to create an exceptional first-year of study in Israel experience. The YII program aims to offer first year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students an immersive environment for Hebrew language acquisition while they build strong relationships with the land, state, and people of Israel—including deep engagement with Israel’s history and contemporary challenges—and explore multiple dimensions of living in Jewish time.
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean of HUC’s Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, summarized what makes Rabbi Greenvald such a good fit for this role, “Rabbi Reuven Greenvald brings years of experience to the Year in Israel program as an innovative Jewish educator, a thoughtful and creative Israel Engagement professional, and a compassionate rabbi. As we face the new realities of Jewish life and, post-pandemic, hope to redesign our Year-In-Israel to meet and embrace these challenges, Reuven has the religious and intellectual abilities to guide our excellent faculty and staff, shape the next generation of students, and serve as an asset to all our Jerusalem-based programs.”