JANUARY 25, 2018 – NEWTON CENTRE – Hebrew College announced that Rabbi Dan Judson, core faculty member and Associate Dean of Placement and Professional Development, has been chosen as the dean of the Rabbinical School.
Rabbi Judson has been on the college’s faculty for the past 10 years. He succeeds Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, who the Board of Trustees selected late last year to serve as president of Hebrew College following a nationwide search.
A graduate of Colgate University, Rabbi Judson was ordained in 1998 in New York by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he also earned a master’s degree in Hebrew Letters. In addition, he holds a doctorate in Jewish History from Brandeis University.
During his tenure as associate dean at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, graduates have gone on to serve as congregational rabbis in affiliated and independent congregations; as Hillel rabbis and executive directors; and as hospital chaplains and organizational innovators in institutions across the country.
Rabbi Art Green, founding dean and rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College, said, “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.”
Rabbi Judson’s doctoral research at Brandeis University focused on the history of American synagogue finances. His book, “Pennies for Heaven: The History of American Synagogues and Money,” will be published later this year.
He served on the national faculty of the Union for Reform Judaism, consulting to synagogues across the country on financial matters. His research on synagogues that have eliminated dues has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, NPR, The New York Jewish Week, and Reform Judaism magazine. He also coauthored a number of books on Jewish rituals for Jewish Lights Publishing, including: “The Rituals & Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal,” and “The Jewish Pregnancy Book: A Resource for the Soul, Body & Mind during Pregnancy, Birth & the First Three Months.”
Rabbi Anisfeld 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,” she said. Rabbi Judson served as rabbi of Temple Beth David of the South Shore in Canton from 1998 to 2008. “Rabbi Judson’swisdom was decades beyond his chronological age. He brought a sense of humor and an ability to gently guide us with wisdom and compassion,” the temple stated on its website.
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.”
Rabbi 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.”