Steven Weil

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Rabbi Steven Weil
Position Executive Vice President
Organisation Orthodox Union
Began May 2008
Predecessor Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
Personal details
Born New York
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Teaneck, New Jersey
Spouse Yael
Alma mater Yeshiva University
Semicha Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary

Steven Weil is an American rabbi who grew up on a cattle farm in upstate New York. He attended Ohr Torah High School and Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and Yeshiva University in New York. He was ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and earned a Masters in Business Administration from New York University Stern School of Business.

Weil became rabbi of the Young Israel of Oak Park Michigan[when?] and then at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California. In both synagogues, he substantially increased membership and expanded programming. He has delivered invocations for President George H. W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Beverly Hills Mayors Stephen H. Webb and Jimmy Delshad. He has served internationally as scholar in residence while visiting congregations across the country and strongly advocating for Israel and Jewish Education. He has worked closely with leaders in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and has worked with the Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood Township, New Jersey.

In his term as Rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation, Weil increased membership by over 250 families to 750 families. He increased the congregation's endowment fund and was considered the most successful fundraiser in Southern California[by whom?].

Weil currently resides in Teaneck, New Jersey with his wife Yael, their three boys and four girls.[1][2]

Executive Vice President of Orthodox Union[edit]

In May 2008, the Orthodox Union announced that Weil would succeed Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb as Executive Vice President. Weinreb, who held the position since 2002, went on to assume the position of Executive Vice President Emeritus. The transition took place in July 2009.

As chief professional officer of the Orthodox Union, Weil’s daily responsibilities include oversight of the Orthodox Union's vision, staff and programs, network member synagogues and fiscal well-being.

Weil’s appointment at the OU followed an eight year term of leadership at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California, the largest Orthodox congregation outside of the metropolitan New York City area. Prior to this, Weil served as Rabbi of the Young Israel of Oak Park, Michigan.

Before his departure from Beth Jacob in April 2008, Weil wrote to the congregation regarding his concerns for Jewish individual and communities worldwide:

“…there are untold numbers of Jews all across the map in the smaller cities who are missing out on a real connection to the richness and beauty of Jewish life because they don’t have resources, critical numbers, or tools for growth. It is my dream that this position (at the OU) will afford me the opportunity to help these isolated shuls and schools build the kinds of programs that we have built and experience the opportunities that we have experienced.
There are hundreds of idealistic men and women serving the smaller communities across North America, sacrificing the comforts of larger Jewish population centers, and they need our support and our mentoring because the responsibility of taking care of Klal Israel is not theirs alone. But by taking on this new role, I make it my responsibility as well.”

Weil went on to detail the dual focus of his efforts, including both Orthodox Jewry and unaffiliated youth:

“The first major area that the OU team will be working on is adolescent kiruv (outreach), which has two components: NCSY throughout North America and the 10,000 unaffiliated Jewish teenagers in public high schools who attend the Jewish Student Union every week.
"The second area is serving as the network and community which supports those on the front lines of Orthodox Jewry. The two major components on the front lines are the lay and professional leadership of hundreds of synagogues as well as the lay and professional leadership of our day schools, which are mentoring and nurturing the Jewish future....
"Our responsibility at the OU is to work with, to partner, and to enable those on the front lines to be as strong and successful as possible in their sacred work of educating and leading the halachic (observing Jewish law) community.”[3]

Praise for Weil[edit]

Upon Weil's appointment as Executive Vice President of the OU his predecessor, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, said:

“The OU's Executive Committee has chosen as my successor a distinguished rabbi whom I have known and worked with for many years. I look forward to working very closely with him in the years to come, and am confident that our past relationship will facilitate that process.

Rabbi Weil brings to the position much outstanding strength, which he has displayed throughout his rabbinic career, especially in his current position in Beverly Hills. At his invitation, I have visited his synagogue and spoken there numerous times, and have witnessed the phenomenal growth of his shul in terms of the size of its membership and the dynamic programming that he has initiated. I wish him every success.”

Stephen J. Savitsky, the President of the OU, said:

“We are extremely pleased that Rabbi Steven Weil will be joining us as Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union. Rabbi Weil has demonstrated in both his positions in Beverly Hills and Detroit that he is a remarkable leader. He brings energy, vision, and an incredible work ethic to this position. We look forward to his leadership and building on the great foundation that has been established by Rabbi Weinreb.”[4]

Articles about Rabbi Steven Weil[edit]

  • JewishJournal.com - "Take a Walk on the Weil Side", David Suissa, January 4, 2007[5]
  • Matzav.com - "Rabbi Steven Weil Takes Over for Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb as Executive Vice President of the OU", July 1, 2009[6]
  • ou.org - "OU's Rabbi Weil in Panel Debating Shylock in Merchant of Venice: Was Shakespeare Anti-Semitic?", April 15, 2011[7]

References[edit]