Rabbi Shlomo Riskin has officially handed the network of liberal Orthodox schools and seminaries in Israel that he founded 35 years ago to Rabbi Kenneth Brander.
Brander, a former administrator at Yeshiva University, was installed Wednesday as the president and Rosh Yeshiva, or head of school, of Ohr Torah Stone in Jerusalem.
Before joining Yeshiva University, Brander served as senior rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue in South Florida for 14 years. He, his wife and son made aliyah in July.
“Our mission is not to dictate the path to those with whom we engage — the thousands in our classrooms and the hundreds of thousands we connect with in the community,” Brander said at the ceremony. “Rather, we wish to create the music enabling each person to find his or her own spiritual sound through which one connects to the Jewish people, the Torah and the State of Israel.”
Riskin, 77, will continue to serve as chief rabbi of the West Bank city of Efrat, which he co-founded in 1983. Before moving to Israel, he gained a wide following as the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on New York’s Upper West Side.
Ohr Torah Stone runs Modern Orthodox schools ranging from junior high to graduate programs.
The network includes a five-year program to train women as Jewish legal authorities on par with rabbis, the first school to train women as advocates in Israeli rabbinical courts, and Midreshet Lindenbaum, a women’s Jewish studies college that was one of the first to teach Talmud to women. The network’s curricula, in stressing Zionism and expanded opportunities for women, are distinct from that of the haredi Orthodox.
The installation at the ceremony in the Jerusalem Theater in front of 950 people is the launch of a month-long celebration that will end with an investiture dinner in New York.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.