Shmuly Yanklowitz

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Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Shmuly Yanklowitz (born 1981) is an Open Orthodox[1][2][3] rabbi and author. In March 2012 and March 2013,[4] Newsweek[5] and The Daily Beast listed Yanklowitz as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.[6] The Forward named Yanklowitz one of the 50 most influential Jews of 2016.[7][8]

Educational and professional background[edit]

Yanklowitz was ordained as a rabbi at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, 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 Doctorate 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.[9] Yanklowitz has served as a delegate to the World Economic Forum.[10][11] From August 2012 to May 2013, Yanklowitz served as the Senior Rabbi of Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas. In July 2013, he became Executive Director, then later President and Dean, of Valley Beit Midrash in Phoenix, Arizona.[12][13]


Yanklowitz founded Uri L'Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice movement, and the Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, an animal welfare spiritual activist center.[14][15] The Shamyaim V'Aretz Institute launched the Synagogue Vegan Challenge in Summer 2017.[16][17][18] He founded YATOM: The Jewish Foster & Adoption Network.[19][20] Yanklowitz is the founder of Torat Chayim, a "progressive-minded" Orthodox rabbinic association.[21][22]

Yanklowitz has advocated for regulated organ market,[23] cadaveric organ donation as well as for living kidney donation. Yanklowitz is an organ donor.[24]

In 2012, Yanklowitz co-founded “Jews for Human Rights in Syria."[25][26] Yanklowitz founded and leads the Jewish social justice group Arizona Jews for Justice.[27][28][29] Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton appointed Yanklowitz to be a commissioner on the Phoenix Human Relations Commission.[30][31]


A film crew followed Yanklowitz for over a year to produce a PBS documentary named The Calling, a documentary series that follows seven Muslims, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and Jews as they train to become professional clergy. The program aired in the United States in December 2010.[32]

Books and writings[edit]

Yanklowitz's The Soul of Jewish Social Justice was published by URIM Publishing in 2014.[33] 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.”[34]

Yanklowitz has published fourteen books, including an edited collection about Irving Greenberg, released in 2018.[35][36][37][38]

Personal life[edit]

Yanklowitz is married and lives in Phoenix, AZ.[39] Yanklowitz himself underwent Orthodox conversion to Judaism, as he is the son of a Jewish father and a Christian mother.[40] He is an advocate for greater inclusion of Jewish converts.[41][42][43]

Yanklowitz is vegan.[44]


  1. ^ Admin (2013-11-25). "Proud to be Open Orthodox!". The Commentator. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  2. ^ "Altering prayer to exclude Trump, rabbi taps into history of liturgical dissent". Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  3. ^ "Tower of Babble - Commentary Magazine". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  4. ^ "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2013 (PHOTOS)". The Daily Beast.
  5. ^ "Wolpe heads 'Newsweeks list of 50 top rabbis". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  6. ^ "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2012". The Daily Beast.
  7. ^ "Shmuly Yanklowitz: A Rabbi Leading by Example". The Forward. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  8. ^ "Ivanka Trump tops Forward 50 list of Jews impacting American life". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  9. ^ "Hillel at UCLA". Hillel at UCLA.
  10. ^ "List of Participants - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting" (PDF). 30 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Our Man in Davos". Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  12. ^ "Valley Beit Midrash hires one of 'America's top 50 rabbis'".
  13. ^ Lon Bab(Past President, Phoenix Suns). "About Us".
  14. ^ "Orthodox activist outlines a Judaism of the heart | Culture". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  15. ^ "'For Judaism to survive, it has to get out of the shtetl'". South African Jewish Report. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  16. ^ "The Synagogue Vegan Challenge". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  17. ^ "Jewish Animal Welfare Group Pushes Synagogues To 'Go Vegan'". The Forward. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  18. ^ "Jewish Animal Welfare Organization Challenges Synagogues To Go Vegan". Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  19. ^ "An un-Orthodox approach". New Jersey Jewish News | NJJN. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  20. ^ "A single foster mother? Welcome to life as a mom-to-be – J." J. 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  21. ^ Maltz, Judy (2018-08-27). "Rallying Against Trump, These Are Not Your Parents' Orthodox Rabbis". Haaretz. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  22. ^ Maltz, Judy (2018-08-01). "Dozens of Israeli and U.S. Orthodox Rabbis Come Out in Support of LGBTQ Community". Haaretz. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  23. ^ Yanklowitz, Shmuly (2015-10-27). "Give a Kidney, Get a Check". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  24. ^ "Arizona rabbi donates his 'spare' kidney to save young Israeli". Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  25. ^ "Rabbis Urge Pelosi To Allow Vote on Bill That Would Sanction Assad Regime". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  26. ^ "Obama Administration Officials Get Holocaust Museum To Absolve Obama For Ignoring Syrian Genocide". Daily Wire. 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  27. ^ "Passover guides serve up a side of social justice for the seder table". Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  28. ^ "Jewish groups' efforts to help refugees continue". Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  29. ^ "A call to welcome refugees". Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  30. ^ "Phoenix rally shows solidarity for Syrian refugees". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  31. ^ "BC_Detail.jsp". Retrieved 2017-10-16.[dead link]
  32. ^ "The Calling". PBS.
  33. ^ "The Soul of Jewish Social Justice by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz | Jewish Book Council". Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  34. ^ Rothholz, Peter L. "Rev. of Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century". Jewish Book Council. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  35. ^ "Judaism Beyond Slogans - Commentary Magazine". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  36. ^ "Orthodox activist outlines a Judaism of the heart | Culture". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  37. ^ "Rabbi's book examines 'Torah of the Heart'". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  38. ^ "- Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion". Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  39. ^ "Leadership - Valley Beit Midrash".
  40. ^ Shmuly Yanklowitz. "Judaism Must Embrace the Convert". The New York Times.
  41. ^ "May 1, 2015 ~ Converting to Judaism | May 1, 2015 | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS". Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  42. ^ Arom, Eitan (2016-09-07). "Orthodox activist outlines a Judaism of the heart — Jewish Journal". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  43. ^ Arom, Eitan (2016-07-27). "The complex, secret path to becoming an Orthodox Jew — Jewish Journal". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  44. ^

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