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Aaron Panken


Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., has taught Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York since 1995. Before his return to full-time teaching and research in 2010, he served as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives from 2006-2010; as Dean of the New York campus from 1998-2007 and as Dean of Students from 1996-1998. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, he earned his doctorate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where his research focused on legal change in Rabbinic Literature. He currently serves on faculty for the Wexner Foundation, on the International Council of the New Israel Fund, on the Editorial Boards of RJ Magazine and the URJ Press, and has served on the Rabbinical Placement Commission, the birthright Education Committee, the CCAR Ethics Committee and in a variety of other leadership roles within the Reform movement and greater Jewish community. Prior to teaching at the College-Institute, he served in congregations including Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY. A native of New York City who graduated from Johns Hopkins University's Electrical Engineering program, Rabbi Panken is also a commercial rated glider, land and seaplane pilot, ham radio operator and sailor, and lives with his wife and two children in the New York area. His publications include The Rhetoric of Innovation (University Press of America, 2005), which explores legal change in Rabbinic texts, and he is currently at work on a book-length history of Hanukkah.