Dan Ehrenkrantz, A83

HOME: Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

AGE: 46

OCCUPATION: President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), preceded by 13 years as rabbi of Congregation Bnai Keshet in Montclair, New Jersey

RECENT HONOR: Made Newsweek’s list of America’s top 50 rabbis

HOBBIES: Making and appreciating all kinds of music (trained in classical violin); enjoying nature with his family, especially in Philadelphia’s 9,000-acre Fairmount Park

FAVORITE BOOK ON FAITH: The Plague, by Albert Camus

FAVORITE BOOK ON RELIGIOUS DOUBT: The Plague, by Albert Camus

LAST MOVIE SEEN: The 2007 British film Death at a Funeral, “an inappropriate and over-thetop comedy that should be required viewing for all clergy”

WHAT RELIGION COULD DO WITHOUT: Anything that can be used to incite violence against those with different beliefs. “We need to shed fundamentalist or exclusionary patterns of behavior and thought. For example, in the Reconstructionist movement we’ve taken a step toward that end by eliminating references in our prayer services to Jews being God’s ‘chosen people.’ ”

WHAT GIVES HIM HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: RRC students such as Darby Leigh, a profoundly deaf man who is also a gifted communicator. “Darby has taught us that the question frequently asked— ‘Can you hear me?’—is best replaced with a more important question: ‘Can you understand me?’ If we are serious about teaching, learning, and communicating, we have to become more sensitive to how our words are being received.”

DEFINING TRAITS: Curious. Imaginative. Relishes the opportunity to transform lives through faith; refuses to forfeit his sense of humor, or to shy away from moral or intellectual challenges. Against uncritical acceptance of anything. STRIVES FOR: Compassion, courage, and wisdom

COMMITTED TO: The Hebrew doctrine of tikkun olam, which roughly translates as “healing the world”—“in other words, doing my part to make the world a better place for everyone.”

HIS ALMA MATER: Tufts (religion)


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