Ex-head of Reform seminary to run Israel studies center at Brandeis

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Rabbi David Ellenson, the former president of the Reform movement’s seminary, has been tapped to lead Brandeis University’s Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

Ellenson, a scholar of Judaic studies, will start at the Boston-area university on July 1. He succeeds Ilan Troen, who served as director of the center since it was founded in 2007.

“David Ellenson is a distinguished scholar of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history whose research on modern Judaism has focused on the complexity of the permeable boundary between tradition and modernity,” Lisa Lynch, Brandeis’ provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said in a Brandeis news release.

Ellenson served as the president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York from 2001 to 2013 and is now chancellor emeritus.

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He is the author of six books and hundreds of articles. Ellenson, who has a doctorate from Columbia University, won the 2005 National Jewish Book Council’s Award for most outstanding book in Jewish thought. His most recent book is “Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice,” published in 2014.

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