June 1, 2021

Announcing the 6th cohort of Fellows for CRI’s Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurs & Intrapreneurs


The Center for Rabbinic Innovation (CRI), a project of the Office of Innovation, has named eight spiritual leaders to its newest class of Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurs, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, CRI’s executive director, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

A mix of ordained leaders and students, the class includes a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi, Rabbi Yonason Perry, whose project creates Torah study opportunities for Black Jews; and Rabbi Tova Leibovic-Douglas, ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, who is exploring the use of social media and spiritual strengthening through Jewish learning.

Madeline Cooper, a student at Hebrew Union College in New York City, is focused on serving small Jewish communities outside major metropolitan areas, and Rabbi Kyle Savitch, who received ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, is leading “Kehillat Harlem,” a community in Manhattan.

Rabbi Miriam Geronimus, ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, is the founding rabbi of the Cleveland Jewish Collective, a progressive Jewish community in Cleveland, Ohio. Andrew Mandel, a student at Hebrew Union College, is the founder of Tzedek Box and is also building new virtual community at Central Synagogue in New York City.

Rabbi Atara Cohen, who received ordination from Yeshivat Maharat, is the Base MNHTN Field Fellow and will be defining Base MNHTN’s evolution in its next chapter. Rabbi Yair Walton, ordained by Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, seeks to reduce social isolation among seniors and develop a community that serves both the seniors and the volunteers engaging with them.

The Pew Research Center’s recently released study, “Jewish Americans in 2020,” highlights the need for clergy who work outside traditional synagogues, Epstein said: “With 52% of American Jews never attending synagogue, and only 20% attending more than a few times a year, the Center for Rabbinic Innovation is dedicated to redefining and reimagining how our clergy serve the Jewish people.”

Meet the fellows here.