Brandeis names Rabbi Elisabeth Weiss Stern acting director of religious and spiritual life and Jewish chaplain

Longtime Boston-area Jewish leader previously taught at Brandeis

rabbi liza stern

Rabbi Liza Stern

Brandeis University announced today that Rabbi Elisabeth “Liza” Weiss Stern, a longtime leader in the Boston-area Jewish and interfaith community, will serve both as acting director of religious and spiritual life and as Jewish chaplain. Her two-year appointment at Brandeis will begin on Aug. 7.

Stern served last year as a part-time Jewish chaplain at Brandeis, and had previously been an associate faculty member. In her new role as director of religious and spiritual life, Stern will work with the other members of Brandeis’ Multifaith Chaplaincy to support the spiritual needs of Brandeis students, faculty and staff of all faiths. As Jewish chaplain, she will enhance Jewish spiritual and cultural life on campus, in concert with Brandeis Hillel.

“I have loved my previous work at Brandeis and am familiar with its deep respect for all faiths, and with the rich diversity of spiritual traditions among students, faculty and staff. I am eager to continue collaborating with my colleagues in the Multifaith Chaplaincy to support the spiritual growth of the whole community,” she said.

“Assisting young people with their Jewish journeys has been one of the most gratifying parts of my career,” Stern added, “I look forward to serving as Jewish chaplain and working with other religious leaders on campus and in the community.”

“Over the course of Rabbi Stern’s impressive career, she has attended to the spiritual and cultural needs of her congregations and made lasting contributions to the U.S. Jewish community.” said Andrew Flagel, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment. “Rabbi Stern’s energy and passion for her work is palpable. I know that she will provide tremendous support for students of all faiths and to her colleagues in the chaplaincy.”

Stern is well known as the rabbi at Congregation Eitz Chayim in Cambridge, Mass., a diverse, socially-active urban Jewish community. She will continue to provide rabbinical support to Eitz Chayim. Stern has also been involved in a variety of interfaith efforts in the greater Boston area. She is a member of the board of Boston Area Gleaners, a nonprofit organization that harvests surplus produce at area farms and provides it to food banks, pantries and meal programs.  

A graduate of Vassar College, Stern was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In recognition of her 25-year tenure as both a rabbi and an insightful scholar, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by HUC. She has five adult children with her husband Rabbi Keith Stern, who is rabbi of Temple Beth Avodah in Newton.

As a faculty member at Brandeis, Stern served as an adjunct professor of Judaic Studies in the Hornstein Program of Jewish Communal Service. She supervised student internships and taught courses in contemporary Jewish issues, studying Jewish text, and the evolution of Jewish theory and practice.Stern’s appointment come shortly after the university also announced a new executive director of Brandeis Hillel, Rabbi Seth Winberg, who will begin in August and will serve as a senior Jewish chaplain in addition to his role with Hillel.

Categories: General, Student Life

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