April 14, 2024
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Chovevei Torah Installs Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Riverdale—Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School (YCT) and its founder, Rabbi Avi Weiss, recently announce the appointment of Rabbi Asher Lopatin as its president. The official installation took place on Sunday, October 6, at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan. The event began with a roundtable discussion with Jewish leaders from across the denominational spectrum participating in a discussion led by Rabbi Lopatin on “Training Rabbis for a New Generation.”

The panelists were: Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson (President of The Wexner Foundation), Rabbi Arnold M. Eisen (Chancellor or The Jewish Theological Seminary), Rabbi David Ellenson (President of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion) and Rabbi Arthur Green (Rector and Irving Brudnick Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College). Following the dialogue, Rabbi Lopatin was installed in a formal ceremony that featured presentations by Rabbi Dov Linzer, Rabbi Daniel Landes, Dr. Mark Shapiro, Dr. Rebecca Schorsch and Rabbi Avi Weiss.

“If the test of success is who succeeds you, this is my greatest moment,” said Rabbi Weiss about Rabbi Lopatin becoming his successor as president of YCT. “We are delighted to welcome Rav Asher into the Chovevei family,” added YCT Chairman Steven Lieberman, Esq. “Rabbi Lopatin’s prior experience in Chicago, where he made a tremendous impact and was known for his learning, outreach and kindness, presage the enormous impact that we expect him to have on the education of rabbis at YCT, and on Orthodox Judaism.”

Notable guests in the audience included rabbis from across the Orthodox Jewish spectrum as well as across the Jewish world. Rabbi Capers Funnye, Michelle Obama’s cousin and the first African American rabbi of an African American Jewish congregation in Chicago, was among many others in the audience who had traveled to attend the event and show his support for Rabbi Lopatin. Also, a friend to Rabbi Lopatin, Chicago-based Pastor Christopher T. Harris, Sr. of the Bright Star Church, sang a beautiful and outstanding “Star Spangled Banner” followed by “Hatikva” at the start of the evening.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin was previously the spiritual leader of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago that attracted a diverse cross-section of Chicago’s Jewish community, including Mayor (and former Obama Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel. Ordained by Rav Ahron Soloveichik and Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, and also by RIETS/Yeshiva University in New York, Rabbi Lopatin was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. In addition, he was both a Rhodes and Truman Scholar and holds an M.Phil. in Medieval Arabic Thought from Oxford University, where he also conducted doctoral work on Islamic Fundamentalist attitudes toward Jews. Rabbi Lopatin is the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles in several books, journals and web sites. He was also the co-chair of the Muslim-Jewish Community Building Initiative of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School recruits, professionally trains, and places rabbis throughout the world who lead the Jewish people and shape their communities’ spiritual and intellectual character in consonance with modern and open Orthodox values and commitments. YCT graduates serve synagogues, schools, Hillels and not-for-profits across the United States, Canada and Israel. YCT Rabbis serve communities large and small. Two recent graduates serve abroad, one as the Chief Rabbi of Finland and another as the only rabbi in Nairobi, Kenya. In additional to rabbinical training, YCT runs a variety of programs for educators and the general public.

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