Aaron Panken, Ph.D.

Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., is President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, North America’s first Jewish seminary. He has taught Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature at HUC-JIR in New York since 1995. He has previously served as a vice president of the College-Institute, as well as Dean and Dean of Students of the New York campus. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, he earned his doctorate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where his research focused on legal change in Rabbinic Literature. He currently serves on faculty for the Wexner Foundation, on the Editorial Board of RJ Magazine, and has served on the Rabbinical Placement Commission, the birthright Education Committee, the CCAR Ethics Committee and in a variety of other leadership roles within the Reform movement and greater Jewish community. Prior to teaching at the College-Institute, he served congregations including Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY. A native of New York City who graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s Electrical Engineering program, Rabbi Panken is also a certificated commercial pilot and sailor, and lives with his wife and two children in the New York area. His publications include The Rhetoric of Innovation (University Press of America, 2005), which explores legal change in Rabbinic texts.


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