Prof. Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., who became the 10th president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in April 2019, is this week’s guest on the Seekers of Meaning Podcast and TV show.
A leading political scientist and distinguished Jewish communal leader, Dr. Rehfeld’s career has bridged both the academic and professional worlds as Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington University (2001 to 2019) and as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis (2012 to 2019). Elected on December 18, 2018 by the HUC-JIR Board of Governors after a national search, he began his tenure on April 1, 2019, and was inaugurated on October 27, 2019, at Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati. He succeeds Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., z”l, HUC-JIR’s previous President (2014-2018).
You can watch Rabbi Address’s conversation with Prof. Rehfeld in the video player below. You can also listen to a podcast in the podcast player below, or subscribe to the Seekers of Meaning Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
About the Guest
A leading political scientist and distinguished Jewish communal leader, Dr. Andrew Rehfeld’s career has bridged both the academic and professional worlds as Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington University (2001 to present) and as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis (2012 to present). The academic values of thinking, writing, and teaching are the core of his identity, coupled with a passionate commitment to building communities based on the Jewish values that are central to his life. He is an advocate for pluralism, inclusion, and racial and social justice, and an activist in combatting antisemitism, advancing peace and security for the state of Israel, and strengthening the ties binding Jews worldwide.
Dr. Rehfeld brings to HUC-JIR his extensive expertise in academic and nonprofit administration, fund raising, strategic planning, and community leadership. He was recruited in 2012 from his tenured faculty position at Washington University to lead the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Over the past six years, he galvanized the St. Louis Federation by implementing a “bottom up” community-focused engagement approach. He led a team that raised $15- $20 million annually, and allocated $14 million per year to support, educate, and connect thousands of individuals in St. Louis, Israel, and globally, while overseeing an annual operating budget of $6.5 million and a $130 million endowment.
His first book, The Concept of Constituency (Cambridge University Press, 2005), provided a conceptual, historical, and normative analysis of territorial redistricting. His next book project, A General Theory of Representation, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. He has published numerous articles on topics in political philosophy, redistricting, and the use of the Hebrew Bible for political purposes in a range of scholarly journals. In 2011, Dr. Rehfeld was appointed as Co-Editor of NOMOS, the yearbook of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, and he served on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Politics. He also served on the Governance Committee for the Association for Political Theory and as Secretary of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy.
A product of the Reform Movement, Dr. Rehfeld was involved in the Reform camping movement for over 35 years as a camper and song leader at Kutz Camp and more recently as faculty of the URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Institute. He lived in Israel for a year prior to college, where he studied Hebrew on a kibbutz ulpan and was an early participant in the work-study program Livnot U’l’hibanot. Prior to his graduate studies, he was the regional director of NFTYGER (the New Jersey region of NFTY) and worked in India for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. During his graduate studies, he ran the confirmation program at KAM-Isaiah-Israel in Chicago, advised its youth group, and later served on its Board of Directors. He was a member of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis and is now a member of Temple Israel and Kol Rinah congregations in St. Louis. He has also served on the Board and Executive Committee of Washington University’s Hillel and the St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council.
Dr. Rehfeld, who is 52, is married to Dr. Miggie Greenberg, a board-certified psychiatrist who is the Director of outpatient psychiatry at St. Louis University. They have two children: Emma, 24, who is Music and T’filah Coordinator at Larchmont Temple in Larchmont, NY and Hoben, 23, who is an artist currently working in St. Louis.