We are delighted to announce that Rabbi Leon Morris has been appointed the new President of Pardes, effective June 1, 2017. He is the first Pardes alumnus to hold this position, having studied on the Pardes Year Program in 1995-96.
Based in Israel, Leon will provide the vision and overall educational and strategic leadership for Pardes and work with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and partners to further the organization’s mission, goals and objectives. These include developing Pardes’s short and long-term learning opportunities in Israel, North America and worldwide, growing the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators and bringing the new Pardes building to fruition.
Leon comes to Pardes from the Shalom Hartman Institute where he is currently Vice President for North American programs in Israel and is on the faculty of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Leon made aliyah with his wife Dasee Berkowitz (Pardes Year Program alumna 1994-95) and their three children in June 2014, after serving as the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, NY. He was the founding director of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El (now the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center) in Manhattan. Ordained from Hebrew Union College in 1997 where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow, he has worked extensively with the Jewish community of India, beginning in 1990 when he served as a Jewish Service Corps volunteer for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He was also a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow. Leon has taught at Orthodox, Conservative and Reform institutions and is a regular contributor to the Jewish, US and Israeli press. He is an editor of the new Reform High Holy Day machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh.
Leon’s experience, achievements and passionate belief in Pardes’s unique mission, make him exceptionally qualified to lead Pardes and build an institution able to grow and flourish in our dynamic Jewish world.
Commenting on his appointment, Leon said, “Pardes is a Jewish spiritual and intellectual home for me, and this appointment is a homecoming. What an enormous privilege it will be to contribute to its growth and continued success. Together with an incredibly talented team, we will leverage Pardes’s resources, its students and alumni to transform the future of Jewish life.”
We thank you for your continued support of Pardes and look forward to seeing you at one of our programs in the very near future.
Chair of the Board, North America
Chair of the Board, Israel