The J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life (JJGI) is a division of Hadar dedicated to promoting the teachings and thought of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg. By developing and disseminating his ideas, JJGI seeks to sustain a vision of Jewish life that is fully integrated into postmodern culture. This vision - a narrative of Jewish communal history best presented in his forthcoming book, The Triumph of Life - will not only gain traction as a set of ideas, but it will also inspire a commitment to living as conscious, committed Jews in general society.
In order to accomplish this goal, Hadar’s JJGI works to:
- Promote the teachings of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, particularly his narrative of sustaining Jewish life in postmodern culture, through videos, short essays, podcasts, and other digital formats.
- Recruit and train the next generation of Jewish leaders and educators to develop practical applications of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg’s narrative of Jewish life.
Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg serves as the President of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life (JJGI) and as Senior Scholar in Residence at Hadar. Rabbi Greenberg was ordained by Beth Joseph Rabbinical Seminary of Brooklyn, New York and has a PhD in history from Harvard University. He has had a long and notable career in the service of the Jewish people. He served in the rabbinate, notably at the Riverdale Jewish Center in the 1960s. He served as professor and chairman of the Department of Jewish Studies of City College of the City University of New York in the 1970s. Together with Elie Wiesel, he founded CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and served as its president until 1997.CLAL offered pluralistic Jewish learning for Jewish communal leadership and programs of intra-faith dialogue for rabbis of every denominational background. From 1997 to 2008, he served as founding president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation which created such programs as birthright Israel and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education. Rabbi Greenberg was one of the activist/founders of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in the movement to liberate Russian Jewry. He was a pioneer in the development of Holocaust education and commemoration. When Elie Wiesel served as chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, Rabbi Greenberg served as its (Executive) Director. The Commission recommended and drew the blueprint for the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the National Mall in Washington. He served as the Museum’s chairman from 2000-2002.
He is a leading Jewish thinker and has written extensively on post-Holocaust Jewish religious thought, Jewish-Christian relations, pluralism, and the ethics of Jewish power. In his book, Interpreters of Judaism in the Late Twentieth Century, Professor Steven T. Katz wrote: “No Jewish thinker has had a greater impact on the American Jewish Community in the last two decades than Irving (Yitz) Greenberg.” In his new book, The Triumph of Life (forthcoming), he argues that the Holocaust and the Jewish assumption of power in creating the state of Israel are the beginning of a new era in Jewish history. Together, these two events usher in a third stage of Jewish religion.
Living and Loving in the Image of God
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg In Conversation with Rabbi Shai Held
Moderated by Prof. Arna Poupko Fisher
Recorded live on September 13, 2020.
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg has spent his career teaching about human dignity and our being created in the image of God; Rabbi Shai Held has spent decades teaching about similar themes, with a special emphasis on the centrality of love in Jewish theology, spirituality, and ethics. Listen as the rabbis discuss how these themes speak to the present moment as we struggle with a global pandemic and with the quest for racial justice. This program marked R. Greenberg's official welcome to the Hadar faculty and was in celebration of the work of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life.
Throughout in 5781, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg wrote a Divrei Torah collection on the weekly parashah. Browse the collection of Divrei Torah on Hadar’s online Torah library.
The work of Hadar’s JJGI is made possible with the support of these foundations and many generous individuals:
- Aviv Foundation
- Jack Chester Foundation
- Irvin and Sharna Frank Foundation
- Genesis Philanthropy Group
- Genesis Prize Foundation
- Gewurz Family Foundation
- Gottesman Family Foundation
- Greenberg-Gottesman Family Foundation
- Harold Grinspoon Foundation
- Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah
- Maimonides Fund
- Micah Foundation
- Robert Russell Foundation