Two Young Modern Orthodox PhDs Take Senior Positions with National Jewish Organizations

Rabbi Dr. Daniel Smokler began his new position as Hillel International's first-ever Chief Innovation Officer this week (Picture courtesy of Hillel International)

Rabbi Dr. Daniel Smokler began his new position as Hillel International’s first-ever Chief Innovation Officer this week (Picture courtesy of Hillel International)

This week, two young Modern Orthodox PhDs took up senior positions with national Jewish organizations. Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg has taken up the position of Executive Director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, while Rabbi Daniel Smokler is the new Chief Innovation officer for Hillel International.

Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg began her new position as JOFA's Executive Director this week (Picture courtesy of JOFA)

Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg began her new position as JOFA’s Executive Director this week (Picture courtesy of JOFA)

According to its statement, Dr. Weiss-Greenberg “has the experience, skills, talent and drive to successfully lead our professional team. She is a passionate Orthodox feminist and has expanded and positively impacted the role of women in a variety of settings and communities.”

According to a press release, Rabbi Smokler “will collaborate with Hillel’s global network to create and test new approaches to fulfilling Hillel’s vision of engaging Jewish college students and inspiring them to develop an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.” Furthermore, he will be Hillel International’s “first Chief Innovation Officer. This addition to the senior leadership team at the Schusterman International Center (SIC) comes as part of Hillel’s Strategic Implementation Plan.”

Dr. Weiss-Greenberg received her PhD in Education and Jewish Studies from New York University while Rabbi Smokler is currently completing his PhD also in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University.  Both are committed Modern Orthodox Jews in their 30s.

According to the press release, Rabbi Smokler

Smokler joins Hillel International from New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life where he served as Director of Education and Engagement. In addition to his role at NYU’s Hillel, he has also worked for Hillel at UCLA, where he founded Hillel’s highly successful Senior Jewish Educator Initiative. Prior to that, Smokler founded Organizational Solutions, a labor consulting firm, and worked as a labor union organizer for the Service Employees Union and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union in Connecticut and Los Angeles. An ordained Orthodox Rabbi, Smokler is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in the History of Art. He is currently completing a PhD in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. In 2011, the Jewish Week named him one of the “36 under 36” changemakers in Jewish life. Smokler lives in New York with his wife Erin Leib Smokler, the director of Spiritual Development at Yeshivat Maharat, and their two sons, Shalev and Nadiv.

According to JOFA’s statement, Dr. Weiss-Greenberg

served as Director of Recruitment at Yeshivat Maharat, Online Engagement Manager at the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, Co-Director of OU JLIC at Hillel of Harvard University and Head of Camp at Camp Stone. She has also taught at Denver Academy of Torah, Yavneh Academy in Paramus and Yeshiva University High School for Girls. Sharon received a PhD in Education and Jewish studies from NYU, holds a MA from the Azrieli School of Education at Yeshiva University and a BA from Stern College for Women. She was also a Wexner graduate fellow.

Dr. Weiss-Greenberg is married to her husband, Rabbi Ben Greenberg, who is launching Open Sinai, along with their two sons.

Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities in 13 countries on five continents, and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

JOFA seeks to expand the spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for women within the framework of halakha. We serve as a resource for those seeking advice, support or information regarding the role of women in Orthodoxy. JOFA advocates meaningful participation and equality for women in family life, synagogues, houses of learning and Jewish communal organizations to the full extent possible within the framework of halakha.

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