Dan Ehrenkrantz

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Dan Ehrenkrantz is an American Reconstructionist rabbi, currently serving as the outgoing president [1][2] of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania.[3]


Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz.

Ehrenkrantz graduated magna cum laude with B.A. degree in Religion from Tufts University. He received an M.A. in Hebrew Letters degree and rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in 1989.

He served as rabbi of Congregation Bnai Keshet in Montclair, N.J. from 1988 to 2002, where he developed a new family education program. He was active in local programs for interfaith understanding. He served as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the professional association of Reconstructionist rabbis, from 1999-2001.

Bnai Keshet

Prior to his appointment as president of RRC in 2002, Ehrenkrantz served both as a visiting instructor for courses at RRC on Biblical Narrative and Poetry and the Challenges of the Rabbinate, and as a spiritual mentor to RRC students. In addition to his responsibilities as president, he is the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Professor at RRC, where he has taught courses on Contemporary Jewish Literature, Modern and Contemporary Hebrew Literature and Darshanut, creative interpretation of traditional texts, as a member of the faculty. Ehrenkrantz has lectured at institutions of higher education throughout the country. He is the first graduate of RRC to serve as its president.[4]

As of June 3, 2012 the Reconstructionist movement was restructured. RRC is now the primary organization of the movement, headed by Ehrenkrantz.[5][6] On February 28, 2013, Ehrenkrantz announced that he will resign his position at RRC when a replacement is selected.[7][8]

Publications and recognition[edit]

Ehrenkrantz has been listed annually by The Daily Beast magazine from 2007 through 2012 as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America.[9][10]

His writings have appeared in a wide range of Jewish and general-interest publications, including Jewish Week, the Jerusalem Report, the Charlotte Observer and Child magazine. He has contributed commentary to The Guide to Jewish Practice (RRC Press) on the topics of kashrut, tzedakah, bioethics, mourning and speech; and authored an essay in the forthcoming The Dream of Zion, edited by Jeffrey Salkin (Jewish Lights Publishing).[11]

Ehrenkrantz has written widely on American Judaism, the Reconstructionist movement, and on the role of religion in America. He often serves as a spokesperson for the Reconstructionist movement in Judaism, meeting with Jewish leaders as well as political and other national figures.[12]

In his inaugural address, he gave a definition of Reconstructionist Judaism:

“[The] Reconstructionist movement is the only movement in Jewish life which doesn't imagine that Judaism is the religion which God created. And if God didn't create Judaism, neither did God choose the Jewish people to carry the one true religion into the world. Neither does the purpose of all creation lie disproportionately within our particular community. Jewish study at the RRC creates a love of Judaism and a love of Jewish life without relying on ideas of Jewish supremacy. The RRC has created a model of religious passion and allegiance combined with tolerance and respect for others. .. This leap from the medieval to the contemporary world is one which we need the rest of the Jewish community, and the rest of the world, to take with us.. What we are attempting to achieve at the RRC and in the Reconstructionist movement is crucial if our world is to survive the present challenges we face.”[13]

In a 2007 interview with the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Ehrenkrantz outlined what connects Reconstructionist Jews. “Q: What unites Reconstructionist Jews?

DE: They are united in being interested and open to questions of Jewish life, they are united in placing community as an extraordinarily high value. Different Reconstructionist congregations will have very different atmosphere in halachic observance, in terms of Hebrew/English mix in the service, but everybody in Reconstructionist congregations will speak in very similar terms about their congregation. It has to do with how the synagogues are run, insisting that members take Judaism and create it for themselves, and the process of doing that brings people closer together. We decide together what Judaism is and that creates a very different communal atmosphere. ”[14]

Ehrenkrantz advocates a link between spirituality and religion. He told the Hartford Courant in 2008 that “spirituality is ‘the awareness of being connected to something larger than ourselves...’You can have spirituality without religion, says Ehrenkrantz, though both suffer from the lack of the other. Religion without spirituality would be empty, he said, and spirituality without a framework like religion is difficult because, he said, most people ‘need the discipline, community and constant reminders that religious traditions offer.’” [15]


  1. ^ Bryan Schwartzmann, "Head of Reconstructionist Movement Steps Down", The Jewish Exponent, February 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Anne Cohen, "Dan Ehrenkrantz, President of Reconstructionist Seminary To Step Down", JTA in The Forward, February 28, 2013.
  3. ^ http://www.rrc.edu, "Profile of Dan Ehrenkrantz, http://www.rrc.edu/site/c.iqLPIWOEKrF/b.1453769/k.FC94/President.htm, accessed May 20, 2008
  4. ^ "Profile of Dan Ehrenkrantz", RRC; “Reconstructionism for the 21st Century: Reconstructionist Judaism matures under new leadership.” By Debra Nussbaum Cohen., Jewish Week, Jan.18, 2002. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/history_community/Jewish_World_Today/Denominations/ReconstructionismToday.htm. Accessed May 22, 2008.
  5. ^ http://www.rrc.edu/node/1193, "Movement Restructuring FAQs", Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, June 4, 2012
  6. ^ "Do the Jewish Streams Have a Future?", The Jewish Exponent, May 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Bryan Schwartzmann, "Head of Reconstructionist Movement Steps Down", The Jewish Exponent, February 28, 2013.
  8. ^ Anne Cohen, "Dan Ehrenkrantz, President of Reconstructionist Seminary To Step Down", JTA in The Forward, February 28, 2013.
  9. ^ Daily Beast article on 50 leading rabbis in the US, 2011 http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2809/1/accessed May 16, 2011.
  10. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/04/02/america-s-top-50-rabbis-for-2012.html#slide15, "America’s Top 50 Rabbis for 2012", Daily Beast, Apr 2, 2012
  11. ^ “Profile of Dan Ehrenkrantz” RRC website
  12. ^ See his January, 2007 report on a meeting with other Jewish leaders with President George W. Bush, http://www.rrc.edu/atf/cf/%7B20710196-D749-4EA3-AD29-CDB6DA6AF516%7D/WHITE%20HOUSE%20MEETING%20MEMO%20EDITED%20FOR%20WEB.DOC accessed May 20, 2008.
  13. ^ “Ahavah Rabbah: To Learn And To Teach, Inaugural address delivered by Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz on April 6, 2003
  14. ^ Jewish Journal [Los Angeles] 2007-02-23 , “Q&A with Reconstructionist Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, by Amy Klein, Religion Editor. Web version http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/searchview.php?id=17271 accessed May 20, 2008.
  15. ^ Hartford Courant, “Spirituality Outside The Pews: Growing Numbers Seek Meaning Without The Framework Of Formal Religion,” by Susan Campbell, March 16, 2008. http://www.courant.com/features/lifestyle/hc-spiritual.artmar16,0,6844981.story, accessed May 20, 2008.

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