Some 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.