Rabbi David Ellenson

David EllensonDirector of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Visiting Professor



David Ellenson is Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Chancellor-Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served as President of HUC-JIR from 2001-2013.

A scholar of modern Jewish thought and history, Ellenson has written extensively on the origins and development of Orthodox Judaism in Germany during the nineteenth century, Orthodox legal writings on conversion in Israel, North America, and Europe during the modern era, the relationship between religion and state in Israel, the history of modern Jewish religious movements, and American Jewish life.

Ellenson has authored or edited seven books and over 300 articles and reviews in a wide variety of academic and popular journals and newspapers and has received numerous awards. His newest book, Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice, appeared in September of 2014 in the University of Nebraska/Jewish Publication Society's Scholar of Distinction Series. His academic colleagues honored him with the publication of Between Jewish Tradition and Modernity: Rethinking an Old Opposition -- Essays in Honor of David Ellenson, edited by Michael A. Meyer of HUC-JIR and David N. Myers of UCLA, in 2014.

Selected Publications

Rabbi Haim Hirschensohn: An Orthodox Rabbi Responds to the Balfour Declaration, American Jewish History (July 2017), pp. 247-269.

Review-Essay of Zev Eleff, Modern Orthodox Judaism: A Documentary History, American Jewish History (July 2017), pp. 401-404.

Modeh Ani and the Gifts of Gratitude and Awareness, in David Birnbaum and Martin S. Cohen, eds, The Transcendent Prayer of Gratitude, pp. 61-70.

Review of Michael Zank and Ingrid Anderson, The Value of the Particular: Lessons from Judaism and the Modern Jewish Experience, Review of Rabbinic Judaism 20:2, pp. 287-289.

"Afterword," The Book of Blessings by Marcia Falk. Republication of a work of Jewish feminist liturgy twenty years after its original publication date.