Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld Named Next Hebrew College President
Successfully concluding a national search, we are pleased to announce that the Hebrew College Board of Trustees voted unanimously on November 30, 2017 to select Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld as the next President of Hebrew College.
Letter from the Chair of the Board
Dear Hebrew College Community,
After a national presidential search, I am very excited to announce that, last night, the Board of Trustees approved Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, current Dean of Hebrew College’s Rabbinical School, as the next President of Hebrew College.
I have known Sharon for 14 years and have admired her work as a leading member of our campus community for more than a decade. Throughout her career, Sharon has inspired students and colleagues with her wise and skillful leadership, her compassionate presence and her passion for pluralism, intellectual and spiritual depth, and communal responsibility. Her leadership has empowered students and alumni (including my wife, Rabbi Suzanne Offit, `09) to bring Torah to bear on contemporary issues of personal meaning and social justice.
Under Sharon’s stewardship for the last twelve years, the Rabbinical School has experienced strong institutional growth. This fall, the Rabbinical School welcomed the largest incoming class in its history; in June, the school expects to ordain 13 rabbis, bringing its total alumni community to over 100. Today, more than 300,000 Jews worldwide are touched by Hebrew College Rabbinical School alumni in congregations, on college campuses, in pastoral care settings, and in organizations promoting social justice, Jewish education, and Jewish creativity.
Now, as Hebrew College continues to evolve to the meet the needs of the rapidly changing and diversifying Jewish community, Sharon’s familiarity with our institution and our students, her commitment to thinking strategically, and her visionary leadership, will be essential in helping Hebrew College thrive as the preeminent national institution for pluralistic Jewish higher education.
Beyond Hebrew College, Sharon has been widely recognized as a leader in the national Jewish community. She spent 15 years working as a Hillel rabbi at Tufts, Yale and Harvard universities before joining Hebrew College in 2003 as an adjunct faculty member. She then served as Dean of Students before taking over as Dean of the Rabbinical School in fall 2006. She has been a beloved summer faculty member for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel since 1993, and is co-editor of two volumes of women’s writings on Passover. In 2015, Sharon was named one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by The Jerusalem Post and from 2011 to 2013 she was named to Newsweek’s list of Top 50 Influential Rabbis in America.
Along with the other trustees, I am thrilled that Sharon has embraced this new role and believe she will energize and inspire the Hebrew College community as we continue to work toward our mission of promoting excellence in Jewish learning and leadership. I am also proud that she will be the first female president in Hebrew College’s history.
I want to take a moment to once again thank our outgoing President, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann. For the past 10 years, Danny has worked tirelessly to advance the mission of Hebrew College, and his leadership has put our institution in a strong position for the future.
Rabbi Anisfeld will serve as President-elect until June 2018. Rabbi Lehmann, who will be on sabbatical from January to June 2018, will remain available through the end of the academic year to provide guidance and help ensure a smooth transition. The College leadership is currently engaged in a process to identify a successor to Rabbi Anisfeld as Dean of the Rabbinical School.
Please join me in thanking the members of the search committee for their diligence and dedication to this process and for the tremendous outcome. I am very excited about the future of Hebrew College!
Andy Offit Chair, Board of Trustees