David Ellenson is an American rabbi and academic who is known as a leader of the Reform movement in Judaism. He served as president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) from 2002 to January 1, 2014, and is now the chancellor of that college.
He is the I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought there. He is also a fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, and a fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Early life and education
Ellenson graduated from the College of William and Mary with a B.A. in 1969. In 1972, he earned an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. He was then ordained at HUC-JIR in 1977 and received his Ph.D from Columbia University in 1981.
Ellenson has been a member of the faculty at Hebrew Union College since 1979.
Ellenson was named as HUC's eighth president in October 2002, succeeding Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman. Upon his retirement and assumption of the role of HUC-JIR's first Chancellor, he was succeeded as president by Rabbi Aaron Panken.
Ellenson is the author of Tradition in Transition: Orthodoxy, Halakhah and the Boundaries of Modern Jewish History (1989), Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy (1990), and After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity (2004).
David Ellenson and his daughter Ruth Andrew Ellenson, editor of The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt, both won the National Jewish Book Award in 2006 , the only father and daughter to do so in the same year since Abraham Joshua Heschel and Susannah Heschel.
- Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice: Studies in Tradition and Modernity. The Jewish Publication Society, 2014
- National Jewish Book Awards on the same year,*After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity. HUC-Press, 2004.
- Between Tradition and Culture: The Dialectics of Jewish Religion and Identity in the Modern World. Scholar's Press, 1994.
- with Stanley Chyet. Bits of Honey: Essays for Samson H. Levey. Scholar's Press, 1993.
- Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy. University of Alabama Press, 1990.
- Tradition in Transition: Orthodoxy. Halakhah and the Boundaries of Modern Jewish Identity. University Press of America. 1989.
- Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D, Chancellor, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2014
- Rodman, Edmund J., Rabbi David Ellenson: Bringing heart and old-school soul to academia, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 6, 2014
- Chernikoff, Helen (January 13, 2013). "Rabbi David Ellenson To Retire From HUC-JIR In 2014". The Jewish Week.
- Aaron Panken named president of Reform movement’s rabbinical school: Replacing Rabbi David Ellenson, Panken will serve as CEO of four Hebrew Union College campuses across the United States and Israel. Haaretz, August 1, 2013
- Ballon, Marc, Community Briefs: Father, Daughter Each Earn Book Awards, Jewish Journal, March 9, 2006
- Bush Visit May Boost Olmert, Lake, Eli, May 13, 2008, New York Sun
- Koltun-Fromm, Ken (2006). "Review of After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity". AJS Review. 30 (1): 214–216.
- Dollinger, Marc (2007). "Review of After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity". Shofar. 25 (2): 132–134.
- Shapiro, Marc B. (1992). "Review of Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy". Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought. 26 (3): 104–107.
- Shapiro, Marc B. (1992). "Sociology and Halakha". Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought. 27 (1): 75–85.