Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz (also known as Rav Shmuly), born June 29, 1981, is a modern Orthodox Rabbi, activist, educator, author, motivational speaker, social entrepreneur, the Executive Director of Valley Beit Midrash in Phoenix, Arizona, the founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, the Orthodox Jewish social justice organization, and the founder and CEO of The Shamayim V'Aretz Institute. In March 2012 and in March 2013, Newsweek called Yanklowitz one of the most influential rabbis in America.
Educational and professional background
Yanklowitz was ordained as a rabbi at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and he received a second rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the chief rabbi of Efrat, and a third rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo of Jerusalem. He completed a bachelors degree at the University of Texas (Austin), a masters degree at Harvard University in Leadership and Psychology, and a second masters degree in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. Yanklowitz completed his doctorate at Columbia University in Moral Development and Epistemology and has taught at UCLA Law School and Barnard College.
Yanklowitz worked in corporate and non-profit consulting and was the Director of Panim JAM in Washington D.C. training others in leadership and advocacy. While in rabbinical school, Yanklowitz served at four different Orthodox congregations in Montreal, Canada; Norwich, CT; Newton, MA; and Boca Raton, FL and was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Following his rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yanklowitz served as Senior Jewish Educator and Director of Jewish Life at UCLA Hillel from 2010 to 2012. While in Los Angeles, he also taught a Senior Honors Talmud class at Shalhevet High School. In August 2012, Yanklowitz was hired as the Senior Rabbi of Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas. Yanklowitz resigned his position on May 17, 2013 explaining that due to "misunderstandings regarding the application of the synagogue’s policies and procedures as outlined in its Constitution and my Engagement Agreement, I believe I must move on." On July 17, 2013, Yanklowitz became Executive Director of Valley Beit Midrash, a "collaborative organization that brings new, exciting, and relevant Jewish programming to the Greater Phoenix Jewish community in a diverse, welcoming, engaging, and pluralistic setting." Yanklowitz, through the Valley Beit Midrash, leads the Start Me Up Fellowship, an incubator that trains and funds Jewish social entrepreneurs to launch innovative social ventures.  Yanklowitz has become a regular at the annual White House Chanukah party.
Yanklowitz founded Uri L'Tzedek, the Orthodox social justice movement, in the spring of 2007 and serves as the President. He is also the founder and CEO of the Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, a spiritual activist center, where he promotes animal welfare and Jewish veganism. Yanklowitz has been a global activist volunteering, teaching, and staffing missions in countries such as Haiti, Thailand, Israel, Ghana, India, France, El Salvador, Guatemala, Britain, Senegal, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, South Africa, and Ukraine.
In 2008, the Jewish Week recognized Yanklowitz as one of "36 under 36" (one of 36 of the most influential Jewish leaders under the age of 36) and in 2009 he was recognized as a top 5 finalist Jewish Community Hero. Yanklowitz serves as a rabbinic representative at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In 2010, Yanklowitz flew to Haiti after the earthquake and has since been an advocate for greater transparency in disaster relief work. In 2012, Yanklowitz co-founded “Jews for Human Rights in Syria” and he led petitions, wrote national op-eds, and was interviewed on the humanitarian crisis.
A film crew followed Yanklowitz for over a year to produce a PBS documentary named The Calling about the training of religious leadership, which aired nationally in December 2010. "The Calling" is a four-hour documentary series that follows seven Muslims, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and Jews on a dramatic journey as they train to become professional clergy. Yanklowitz is followed through his activism, rabbinic studies, travel, and personal faith journeys. Yanklowitz has been involved with interfaith work, written on issues of pluralism and been an advocate for religious epistemic pluralism.
Yanklowitz uses his columns the "Social Justice Rav" in the Jewish Journal and "Street Torah" in the Jewish Week to educate others on different issues of social justice. He also blogs at the Times of Israel, the Huffington Post, and the Jewish Press. Yanklowitz has also written for the Washington Post, the Forward, the JTA, Sh'ma, and many others. Many of his articles relate to the prison system in America, animal welfare, religion in the public sphere, health issues, and issues in the Jewish community.
Yanklowitz has argued that the primary purpose of the Torah is social justice. Jewish law is the vehicle for cultivating the ethical personality with the aim of social progress that improves society and the world. He demonstrates that each law, tradition, ritual and theology has the ultimate aim of fostering a more just and equitable society. He has also been a strong advocate for "Open Orthodoxy"  and for Epistemic Pluralism.
Yanklowitz has written three books.
- Jewish Ethics & Social Justice. Derusha Publishing LLC, 2012.
- Epistemic Development in Talmud Study. ProQuest LLC, 2013.
The Soul of Jewish Social Justice (URIM Publishing) will be released in the spring of 2014.