David Ellenson, an American Rabbi and Leader of Judaism Reform Movement Died at 76

Last Updated on December 7, 2023, 3:24 pm

The Jewish Reform movement is mourning the loss of Rabbi David Ellenson, a prominent American rabbi and leader of the Judaism Reform Movement.

David Ellenson Dead
David Ellenson (Image via Facebook)

Ellenson, who passed away at age 76, was known for his scholarly work and significant contributions to the movement. He served as a respected rabbi and a distinguished professor, overseeing the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

Matthew Soffer confirmed Ellenson’s death on December 7, 2023, through a Facebook post, expressing deep sorrow and admiration for the late leader and stating:

“My heart aches to learn of the passing of Rabbi David Ellenson. More than any of the esteemed leadership roles he dignified, he was a mensch of all menschen, a teacher of teachers, a Rabbi’s Rabbi. He was amazing. He was so wondrously present, always.

I pray that his memory will shine– and I know that countless other students and friends of his feel so profoundly and faithfully obliged to bring his brightness into our relationships and embodiment of the best of Torah. I hope that whatever light I can shine from my rabbinate will reflect at least an inkling of the brightness of his.”

Social media has been flooded with tributes and prayers, reflecting the profound impact Ellenson had on the Jewish community. Thoughts and Condolences to the family and entire Jewish community; his profound loss left behind his admirers in deep shock and sorrow.

About David Ellenson

David Ellenson was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1947; he grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household in Newport News, Virginia. He held leadership positions during high school and received a B.A. from the College of William & Mary in 1969.

Ellenson earned a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Virginia in 1972, followed by ordination at HUC-JIR in 1977 and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981. As a pioneer of the Reform movement in Judaism, Ellenson was president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).

He later became the head of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and a visiting professor at Brandeis University. Ellenson held various leadership roles, including chancellor emeritus at HUC-JIR until his passing.

David Ellenson Career

Throughout his career, Ellenson made significant contributions to the fields of philosophy and history, publishing numerous works on modern Jewish religious movements, American Jewish life, and the relationship between religion and state in Israel. He also wrote about the development of Orthodox Judaism in Germany during the nineteenth century and Orthodox legal writings on conversion in Israel, North America, and Europe.

In addition to his scholarly achievements, Ellenson shared the National Jewish Book Award with his daughter, Ruth Andrew Ellenson, in the same year. In 2008, he was chosen by President George W. Bush to be part of a delegation celebrating the State of Israel’s 60th anniversary in Jerusalem. Newsweek ranked him fifth on the “50 Influential Rabbis” list in 2009.

Although Ellenson’s physical presence is no longer with us, his legacy will endure in the history of the Jewish community. May he rest in peace.

Source: uptospeedjournalism.com

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