Rabbi Shai Held Wins Prestigious Covenant Award

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Covenant Foundation announced today that Rabbi Shai Held, co-founder, dean and chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar, has won the prestigious Covenant Award.

Selected from hundreds of nominees, Shai was chosen "for committing to excellence in Jewish education and pursuing innovative approaches that inspire and empower students, colleagues and community."

“Together with his colleagues, Shai has created a center for Jewish learning that is in many ways unprecedented in Jewish life,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, who nominated Rabbi Held for the Covenant Award. “It combines a deep commitment to egalitarianism and intellectual openness, on the one hand, with a commitment to classical Jewish texts and seriousness of religious purpose, on the other."

Reacting to being named a Covenant Award recipient for 2011, Rabbi Held said the honor underscores the important work and approach of Hadar.

“I have always been drawn to institutions that do not fit easily into boxes, that are always willing and eager to think and re-think about questions both theological and pedagogical,” he said.

“I like to think that at Hadar we are building just such an institution-- a place that is at once deeply traditional and totally egalitarian; passionately religious and relentlessly open-minded; committed to the life of the mind and the cultivation of the heart. To have my work recognized with the Covenant Award is an immense blessing, and I am both humbled and grateful.

Hadar also congratulates Rabbi Eve Ben-Ora and Amy Skopp Cooper, fellow winners of this year's award.

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