Shmuly Yanklowitz

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Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Shmuly Yanklowitz (born 1981) is an Open Orthodox[1] rabbi and author. In March 2012 and March 2013,[2] The Daily Beast listed Yanklowitz as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.[3]

Educational and professional background[edit]

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 earned a master's degree at Harvard University in Leadership and Psychology, and a second master's degree in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. Yanklowitz earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University and has taught at UCLA Law School and Barnard College.[citation needed]

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. Following his ordination, Yanklowitz served as Senior Jewish Educator and Director of Jewish Life at UCLA Hillel from 2010 to 2012.[4] From August 2012 to May 2013, Yanklowitz served as the Senior Rabbi of Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas. In July 2013,Yanklowitz became Executive Director (later President & Dean) of Valley Beit Midrash.[5][6]


Yanklowitz founded Uri L'Tzedek, the Orthodox social justice movement, in the spring of 2007 and serves as the President. Uri L'Tzedek was featured in the Slingshot Guide for five consecutive years (2009–2013) honoring the top 50 most innovative Jewish non-profits recognized for innovation, impact, strong leadership, and organizational effectiveness.[7] Through Uri L'Tzedek, Yanklowitz has been quoted in support of adding more stringency in Kashrut certification of food products and treatment of workers.[8] in He is also the Founder and CEO of the Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, a spiritual activist center.[citation needed]

In 2012, Yanklowitz co-founded “Jews for Human Rights in Syria".[citation needed] He supports a more welcoming attitude towards Syrian refugees in the United States.[9][10] In November 2015, he helped organize a rally in support of Syrian refugees[11] after Arizona governor Doug Ducey released a statement ordering the halt of refugees into the state".

Yanklowitz advocates for cadaveric organ donation as well as for living kidney donation[12] and in the summer of 2015 underwent organ transplant surgery to donate his kidney.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Yanklowitz has been quoted in favor of closing Guantanamo Bay and speaking out against torture.[19]


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 in the United States in December 2010.[20] The Calling is a four-hour documentary series that follows seven Muslims, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and Jews as they train to become professional clergy.[21]

Books and writings[edit]

Yanklowitz's The Soul of Jewish Social Justice was published by URIM Publishing in 2014.[22] Peter L. Rothholz, writing for Jewish Book Council, said that "In language that is at once passionate and direct, the author tackles a number of delicate subjects head on and makes practical suggestions for dealing with them".[23]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2013 (PHOTOS)". The Daily Beast. 
  3. ^ "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2012". The Daily Beast. 
  4. ^ "Hillel at UCLA". Hillel at UCLA. 
  5. ^ "Valley Beit Midrash hires one of 'America's top 50 rabbis'". 
  6. ^ Lon Bab(Past President, Phoenix Suns). "About Us". 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Kosher Ethics Push, Round Two". The Jewish Week | Connecting The World To Jewish News, Culture & Opinion. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  9. ^ Jonathan Craig. "In celebration of Yom Kippur, a Rabbi shares his thoughts on Syria". 
  10. ^ "US rabbis envy Canadian counterparts' chance to welcome refugees". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  11. ^ "Protests continue over Ducey's anti-refugee stance". azcentral. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Organ Donation: Holiest of Mitzvot - Social Justice Rav". Jewish Journal. 
  13. ^ "Arizona rabbi donates his 'spare' kidney to save young Israeli - The Times of Israel". The Times of Israel. 
  14. ^ "You WON't Believe What This Rabbi Just... - The Jewish Standard - Facebook". 
  15. ^ "Why is kidney donation such a tough topic for Jews?". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 
  16. ^ Trisha Hendricks, 12 News (June 24, 2015). "Exclusive: Valley Rabbi donates kidney to save a stranger". KPNX. 
  17. ^ "Rabbi Donates Kidney To Complete Stranger and Saves His Life". A+ ( June 22, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Renewal! Rav Shmuly Yanklowitz's Kidney Donation.". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  19. ^ "Religious groups mixed over Guantanamo closure plan". Religion News Service. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  20. ^ "The Calling". 
  21. ^ "Meet the Characters - What's Your Calling". 
  22. ^ "The Soul of Jewish Social Justice by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz | Jewish Book Council". Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  23. ^ Rothholz, Peter L. "Rev. of Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century". Jewish Book Council. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 

External links[edit]