Boyden is pleased to share the appointment news of Rabbi Jason Rubenstein, a recruitment co-led by Wendy Wilsker & Jill Coran

Cambridge, MA - Mar 18, 2024

Announcement by Adina Astor '93, MBA '98, and Lavea Brachman ‘84, Co-Chairs of the Harvard Hillel Board of Directors: 

On behalf of the Harvard Hillel Board of Directors, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Rabbi Jason Rubenstein ’04 as Harvard Hillel’s next executive director. Following an extensive national search that attracted a large and highly competitive pool of candidates, the Search Committee was impressed with Rabbi Rubenstein’s deep dedication to students and their well-being, his passion for the pluralistic mission of Harvard Hillel, his connection with staff, and his intellectual breadth and depth.

Rabbi Rubenstein was an active member of Harvard Hillel during his undergraduate years, and we are excited to welcome him “back home” after almost six years at Yale’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life, Yale’s Hillel. Prior to Yale, Rabbi Rubenstein was the dean of students at the Hadar Institute in New York, where he taught Talmud and Jewish philosophy. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and holds an MA in Talmud from JTS and an AB in Social Studies magna cum laude from Harvard College.

At Yale, Rabbi Rubenstein sustained Jewish students emotionally and spiritually, including through the challenges of the pandemic and the nearly two-year renovation of the Slifka building. Rabbi Rubenstein played a critical role in leading Yale’s Jewish community through shock and grief of the October 7 massacre and ensuing wave of campus antisemitism. His open letter to his students was widely circulated and praised, and was cited in The New York Times coverage of campus antisemitism after October 7.

Rabbi Rubenstein has shared, “The Harvard Jewish community matters to me in deeply personal, even existential, ways. My life is immeasurably richer for the people, ideas, and authentic ways of Jewish expression I encountered as an undergraduate at Hillel – and the Jewish world is profoundly shaped by the distinctive leadership of generations of Harvard alumni. It is the honor of a lifetime to lead this community of boundless potential – students, faculty, parents, alumni, supporters, and staff – in together creating Jewish life at Harvard that will inspire the next generation of Jewish creativity. The resurgence of antisemitism at Harvard and beyond since October 7 has made the work of sustaining Harvard's vibrant Jewish life that much more urgent.”

At this critical moment for Jewish life at Harvard, Rabbi Rubenstein’s background and experiences demonstrate his ability to work with students, staff, and University leaders to create a ‘big tent’ for Jewish students across the religious and political spectrum while navigating the complexities of campus life.

Interim President Alan Garber met with Rabbi Rubenstein recently and shared, “Rabbi Rubenstein is a superb choice to lead Harvard Hillel. His understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities – and his longstanding, deep connection to the Harvard community – will help enable his success. He is an insightful thinker who has the compassion, temperament, and commitment to ensure that Harvard's Jewish students will feel welcome and well-supported. I very much look forward to welcoming him back."

Additionally, Yehuda Kurtzer PhD ‘08, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute, said, “The appointment of Rabbi Rubenstein is thrilling. He possesses a once-in-a-generation intellect that is matched only by his compassionate heart, and he unites these gifts towards love for his students with an eagerness to bring them closer to Torah. At this moment, when the campus climate feels threatening to many Jewish students, it is inspiring to see Rabbi Rubenstein step into this role and continue an amazing legacy of leadership at Harvard Hillel.”

We and our fellow board members look forward to working closely with Rabbi Rubenstein, the entire staff, student board, and all of you to lead Harvard Hillel from strength to strength. He will officially assume his role on June 1, 2024.

Original Source: Harvard Hillel News

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