Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and a prominent leader of the St. Louis Jewish community, has been elected the 13th President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) after a national search. Elected by the HUC-JIR Board of Governors on December 18, 2018, he will begin his tenure on April 1, 2019. He succeeds Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., z”l, HUC-JIR’s 12th President (2014-2018).
Dr. Rehfeld, 52, is married to Dr. Miggie Greenberg, a board-certified psychiatrist who is the Director of out-patient psychiatry at St. Louis University. They have two children: Emma, 24, who is Music and T’filah Coordinator at Larchmont Temple in Larchmont and Hoben, 23, who is an artist currently working in St. Louis.
Joy G. Greenberg, Chair of the HUC-JIR Presidential Search Committee, stated, “We are honored and delighted to welcome Andrew Rehfeld as our new President. A distinguished academic and creative thought leader, Andrew is uniquely qualified intellectually, spiritually, and professionally to lead the College-Institute in our mission to transform the Jewish community and the broader world. Andrew brings to HUC-JIR a passion for teaching and scholarship, as well as exemplary leadership skills that have set him apart as a dynamic visionary and community builder.”
As HUC-JIR President, Dr. Rehfeld will lead the four-campus international institution of Jewish higher education and seminary for Reform Judaism, which educates leaders to serve the Reform Movement and the Jewish people worldwide as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. He will also hold a tenured faculty position as Professor of Political Thought. Dr. Rehfeld will oversee campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, an annual operating budget of over $41 million, 36 full-time tenured faculty, and an enrollment of about 400 full-time students and 800 part-time education students, graduate studies students, and undergraduate students at HUC-JIR’s partner institutions, University of Southern California and Xavier University. HUC-JIR’s 4,000 active alumni serve the Reform Movement’s 1.5 million members and nearly 900 congregations, representing the largest Jewish denomination in North America and the growing Progressive Movement in Israel and around the world.
Dr. Rehfeld stated, “I am deeply humbled by the faith and confidence that the Search Committee and Board of HUC-JIR have placed in me. I am thrilled by the opportunity to work collaboratively with a dynamic professional team of deans, program directors, academic administrators, and faculty across all four campuses to shape the future of professional Jewish leadership by inspiring, educating, and learning from a new generation of students. These are challenging times for the Jewish People that I believe HUC-JIR, as a multi-faceted institution of higher education, is well suited to address. I can only hope to live up to the historic legacy of transformational leadership that characterized those who held this position before me, from Isaac Mayer Wise and Stephen S. Wise to David Ellenson and Aaron Panken. I am honored to have been selected as the next President of HUC-JIR.”
A leading political scientist and distinguished Jewish communal leader, Dr. Andrew Rehfeld’s career has bridged both the academic and professional worlds as Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington University (2001 to present) and as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis (2012 to present). The academic values of thinking, writing, and teaching are the core of his identity, coupled with a passionate commitment to building communities based on the Jewish values that are central to his life. He is an advocate for pluralism, inclusion, and racial and social justice, and an activist in combatting antisemitism, advancing peace and security for the state of Israel, and strengthening the ties binding Jews worldwide.