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The high rates of intermarriage (72% among non-Orthodox Jews) and the ongoing Israeli Occupation presents existential questions for American Jews.

We also know that Jewish millennials (and younger cohorts) are less closely identified with religion, ethnicity and Israel. Prof. Steven M. Cohen discusses how Jewish communal leaders can effectively address these significant issues — provided they depart from prevailing assumptions about community, culture and politics.

Approximate runtime will be 2.5 hours with a short break.


This program is endowed by Edith and the late Henry Everett.


(Click the names below to expand info.)

Steven M. Cohen

Prof. Steven M. Cohen is Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR, and Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at Stanford University. In 1992 he made Aliyah, and taught at The Hebrew University, having previously taught at Queens College, Yale, and JTS.

Among his books are The Jew Within (with Arnold Eisen), Two Worlds of Judaism: The Israeli and American Experience (with Charles Liebman) and Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary (with Isa Aron, Lawrence Hoffman and Ari Kelman, Isa Aron, Lawrence A. Hoffman. He was the lead researcher on the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011, and consultant to the Pew studies of American Jews and Israeli society.

Prof. Cohen received an honorary doctorate from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, the Marshall Sklare Award and a National Jewish Book Award. He serves as president of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.

Married to Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen, Marion and Steven live in Jerusalem and New York. His daughter, Edeet, is an attorney with the Tel Aviv criminal prosecutor, while his son Adam lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.

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Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein

Peter J. Rubinstein is the Director of Jewish Community and the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92Y in New York City. He is also the Rabbi Emeritus of Central Synagogue, a Reform congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism where he served as the Senior Rabbi for 23 years. Prior to his position at Central Synagogue, Rabbi Rubinstein served as the Rabbi of Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, New York and Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, California.

Rabbi Rubinstein graduated from Amherst College from which he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, and he received a Master of Hebrew Letters degree with honors. He then was the Herbert R. Bloch Memorial Fellow at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and specialized in the history of the Jewish community during the second commonwealth. He received a Doctor of Divinity in 1994.

Rabbi Rubinstein has taught at Manhattanville College, Colgate University, San Jose State and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion both in New York and Cincinnati. He is presently the Director of the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurship at the HUC-JIR in New York City.

In addition to his professional affiliations and responsibilities, Rabbi Rubinstein is a founder and Chair of the Rabbinic Council of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and member of the organization’s North American Advisory Board. He is Co-chair of the Partnership of Faith in New York City which includes the senior clergy of the city’s major congregations. He also Founded and chairs the Rabbinic Vision Initiative aimed at the evolution of Reform Judaism in North America and he is a frequent lecturer on the evolution of synagogues and the role of a Rabbi now and in the future. He is recognized as a leader in the changing face of the Jewish community and was ranked number 3 in Newsweek’s 2012 list of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis” and number 5 in 2013. He was named one of the 28 “2014 America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Daily Forward.

Rabbi Rubinstein also serves as the Co-President of the U.S. Board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. He is on the Board of the New York Region of the American Jewish Committee.

His essays have been included in Restoring Faith by Forrest Church (2001), How Can I Find God (1997), (edited by James Martin) and Our Rabbis Taught (1990) and Shine by Star Jones (2006).

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