Shalom Hartman Institute comes to Chicago

Jason Rosensweig to become first Chicago director

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Jason Rosensweig will be the first Chicago Director of the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Jason Rosensweig, a local advocate for the Jewish community with a passion for pluralism, will be the first Chicago Director for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.

The addition of a permanent staff member in Chicago to develop and manage local programming for Hartman follows the establishment of a Midwest regional office in Detroit in 2019. The decision to expand to Chicago was made possible by the institute's longstanding positive relationship with JUF, as well as a generous grant from the Crown Foundation.

Rosensweig was previously the assistant director for advocacy and international affairs at the American Jewish Committee. He serves on the Illinois Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, a role in which he will continue while working for Hartman.

The Shalom Hartman Institute was founded in Israel over 30 years ago by Canadian oleh (immigrant) David Hartman in response to what he saw as a need for pluralistic dialogue on major issues in the Jewish community and between Jews and non-Jews using "Judaism as an interpretive tradition as its core value," said Midwest Regional Director Rebecca Starr.

For over 20 years, JUF has funded the participation of two local clergy members in every cohort of the Shalom Hartman Institute's rabbinic leadership program; many of these Hartman alums continue to serve congregations in the Chicago area.

"To me, part of the need for this kind of work is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to have tough conversations about a lot of things," said Rosensweig. "To be in a place where that can really happen is exciting."

Rachel Kohn is a freelance writer based in Chicago. 

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