Judaism Unbound’s Daniel Libenson and Lex Rofeberg Reaching Out to ‘Disaffected But Hopeful’ American Jews

On this week's Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, Daniel Libenson and Lex Rofeberg discuss Judaism Unbound, a project of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, that catalyzes and supports grassroots efforts by “disaffected but hopeful” American Jews to re-imagine and re-design Jewish life in America for the 21st Century. Libenson and Rofeberg are the co-hosts of the Judaism Unbound podcast.

Judaism Unbound values the ways that you choose to connect to Judaism, whether through rituals steeped in millennia-old traditions or through entirely new paradigms that ancient Jewish texts never dreamed of; whether your Judaism includes participation in Jewish communal organizations or not; whether you live and breathe Jewishly 24/7 or you just want to connect once or twice a year; whether you think of yourself as Jewish, half-Jewish, Jewish-and-X, partly-Jewish, not-Jewish, or Jew-ish.

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About the Guests

Daniel Libenson, Founder and President. Institute for the Next Jewish Future

Daniel Libenson is the founder and president of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future and co-host of the Judaism Unbound podcast. His extensive background in Jewish communal innovation includes six years as Executive Director of the University of Chicago Hillel and three years as Director of New Initiatives at Harvard Hillel. Dan is a 2009 AVI CHAI Fellow and has also received the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence award, Hillel International's highest professional honor. In 2010, Dan was named a Jewish Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Jewish News. Dan attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and was an articles editor of the Harvard Law Review. Dan has published articles in Ha'aretz, The New York Jewish Week, Zeek, eJewishPhilanthropy, and elsewhere. He is the translator of The Orchard by renowned Israeli novelist Yochi Brandes and the translation editor of The Secret Book of Kings by the same author. Before devoting his life to working in the Jewish community, Dan spent five years as a law professor after clerking for Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and two children. Contact Dan at Dan@JudaismUnbound.com.

Lex Rofeberg, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Institute for the Next Jewish Future

Lex Rofeberg is a Jewish educator and activist who serves as Strategic Initiatives Coordinator of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, and as co-host of the Judaism Unbound podcast. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Judaic Studies from Brown University, and while in college he served for two years as a Student Representative on the board of Hillel International. He came to Judaism Unbound in 2015 after a two-year Education Fellowship at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, based in Jackson, Mississippi. His writing on Jewish identity and politics has been published in JTA, MyJewishLearning.Com, Jewish Currents, Sh'ma Journal, New Voices, and others. He received his certificate in Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement from Hebrew College in 2018 and was ordained as a rabbi in 2021 by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. He has been active in Jewish movements for justice, which have included IfNotNow and Never Again Action. He serves in advisory capacities for Tikkun Olam Productions, Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations, and Mitzvah Matzos. Lex is a die-hard college-basketball fan and a former a cappella nerd. He can be contacted at Lex@JudaismUnbound.com.

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