Rabbi Daniel Judson Named New Dean of Rabbinical School of Hebrew College

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Rabbi Dan JudsonJanuary 4, 2018, Newton Centre, MA – Hebrew College today announced that Rabbi Dan Judson, PhD, core faculty member and Associate Dean of Placement and Professional Development of the Rabbinical School, has been chosen to serve as the next Dean of the Rabbinical School. Rabbi Judson has been on the faculty for the past 10 years, and previously served as a congregational rabbi. He will succeed Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, who the Board of Trustees selected late last year to serve as the next President of Hebrew College following a national search.

A graduate of Colgate University, Dan was ordained in 1998 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he also earned a Masters in Hebrew Letters. In addition, he holds a doctorate in Jewish History, which he earned at Brandeis University’s Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. During his tenure at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, Rabbi Judson has taught history, overseen the professional development program, and served as the placement director. Under his leadership, graduates have gone on to serve as congregational rabbis in affiliated and independent congregations, Hillel rabbis and executive directors, hospital chaplains and organizational innovators in institutions across the country. Having successfully placed nearly all of the Rabbinical School’s graduates, Hebrew College has proven itself to be a thriving enterprise in rabbinic education, providing rich career opportunities for its graduates.

Rabbi Art Green, founding dean and rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College, commented, “President-Elect Anisfeld and I both feel confident that Dan is the right person to carry our program forward, working together with both of us as we articulate a vision for the future of rabbinic education and for the Jewish community our rabbis are to serve.”

A nationally-recognized expert on synagogue dues, Rabbi Judson’s doctorate research at Brandeis University focused on the history of American synagogue finances. His book, Pennies for Heaven: A History of American Synagogues and Money, will be published later this year. Dan served on the national faculty of the Union for Reform Judaism, consulting to synagogues across the country on financial matters. His research on synagogues which have eliminated dues was featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, NPR, The New York Jewish Week, and Reform Judaism Magazine. He was also the Rabbi of Temple Beth David in Canton, MA for 10 years and co-authored a number of books on Jewish rituals for Jewish Lights Publishing, including: The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal and The Jewish Pregnancy Book: A Resource for the Soul, Body and Mind During Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President-Elect of Hebrew College, welcomed Rabbi Judson as Dean: “I am personally honored and delighted to have the opportunity to work with Dan in this new capacity, and I am excited to support him as he brings his many intellectual and interpersonal strengths to the leadership of the Rabbinical School. As we move into the New Year, and I move into my new role as President-Elect, I want to express my deepest gratitude for our dedicated and talented community of colleagues. I very much look forward to working together, with a renewed sense of commitment to our shared mission of revitalizing contemporary Jewish life through deep learning and inspired leadership.” 

Rabbi Judson served as congregational rabbi of Temple Beth David of the South Shore in Canton, Massachusetts from 1998 to 2008. The synagogue recognizes his integral role as spiritual leader for a decade on its website: “Rabbi Judson’s wisdom was decades beyond his chronological age. He brought a sense of humor and an ability to gently guide us with wisdom and compassion.”

Jonathan Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University and Chair of its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, said, “Dan’s soon-to-be-published book provides, for the first time, the historical background to the American synagogue’s contemporary challenges. The book’s combination of rigorous scholarship about the past and insightful proposals aimed at shaping Judaism’s present and future provides a perfect model for what contemporary rabbis need to do in their own pulpits. Hebrew College has made a magnificent choice – he is a great scholar and leader, and I feel certain he will be a great dean as well.”

Dean Judson reflected on his experience as a rabbi as it informs his new role. “I believe wholeheartedly in the vision of Hebrew College in developing rabbis who are deeply knowledgeable in tradition, while alive to contemporary spirituality. When I see our students go off into the world and experience those brief but invaluable moments of helping others, I am gratified to have been part of their process. I am honored to step into my new role as Dean with that same kavanah (intention), doing all that I can to ensure that our rabbis will go on to have a profound impact in the world in a multitude of ways.”

Rabbi Dan Judson's appointment as dean is effective immediately. The College is launching a search for a new faculty member to assume responsibility for Rabbinical School placement and professional development.

Read Hebrew College President-Elect Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld's announcement letter to the community

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About Hebrew College 
Founded in 1921, Hebrew College promotes excellence in Jewish learning and leadership within a pluralistic environment of open inquiry, intellectual rigor, personal engagement and spiritual creativity. Its programs include a Rabbinical School, a School of Jewish Music, a School of Jewish Education, and graduate degrees and courses in Jewish studies; community education for adult learners; and a supplemental Hebrew high school and middle school. For more information, visit www.hebrewcollege.edu.

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