About Me

David and Jennifer starrSome strong continuities and discontinuities describe the arc of my life. Many European immigrant relatives gave me a deep sense of history as personal memory as well as geographically exotic. My father’s work in a series of academic, communal, and civic education spaces imparted a service ethic of ethical and intellectual advocacy. In my late teens and early twenties I began exploring other ideas and visions of community, centering mostly around more traditional notions of Jewish faith and practice. That led me to the rabbinate, and to a career that combines academics, education, and religious-communal work.

At present I’m writing two books: a biography of Solomon Schechter, and a study of the Me’ah program (an intensive Jewish literacy two-year course for adults) and American Jewish identity.

I was born in New York City, and grew up mostly in Boston and Minnesota.   I’ve also worked in Washington D.C. and Israel. I now live in Brookline, MA with my wife and daughters.

View or download my professional vita.
[David] has a brilliant mind; he is a scholar of great range and depth; he is a deeply devoted father and husband; his outstanding abilities at organization are manifest in the splendid Me'ah Program he created and fostered; he is a forceful and moving orator; he is a man of both compassion and commitment; he is a teacher who fortifies and inspires; he is a natural leader; and his contribution to the Jewish community is legendary.
Sacvan Bercovitch, Powell M. Cabot Research Professor of American Literature, Harvard University

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