Rabbi David Wolpe Will Serve as Senior Advisor
(June 15, 2022) Maimonides Fund, a private grantmaking organization that funds in North America and Israel, today announced a new strategic program area focused on Viewpoint Diversity in Jewish communal spaces. Rabbi David Wolpe will serve as Senior Advisor to the Viewpoint Diversity portfolio, which will include grantmaking and operating initiatives.
“The Jewish community is and always has been strengthened by a multiplicity of views,” said Maimonides Fund president Mark Charendoff. “Yet trends in American society are sadly finding an echo in the Jewish community. It has become safer to avoid debate than engage in it.” The new Viewpoint Diversity portfolio will encourage Jewish communal organizations and leadership to create forums for sharing differing perspectives in open and respectful dialogue with each other.
Starting in mid-June as Senior Advisor, Viewpoint Diversity, Rabbi Wolpe will provide general counsel to Maimonides Fund program staff in this area, serve as a thought leader on the intersection of viewpoint diversity and Jewish wisdom, and facilitate periodic discussions and convenings on this topic and related themes. He will continue serving in his current position as Max Webb Senior Rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
“I am excited to join Maimonides Fund in this important work,” said Rabbi Wolpe. “As the world gets ever more polarized, it is incumbent upon us as Jews to channel the spirit of Talmudic debate and not shy away from hearing views that differ from and challenge our own thinking.”
Considered one of the “most influential Jews in the world” by The Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Wolpe and his writing have been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and others. He appears regularly on television news, public affairs and documentary programming and has engaged in public debates about religion with prominent atheists including Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker. Rabbi Wolpe is the author of eight books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times and the National Jewish Book Award finalist David, the Divided Heart. He writes weekly Torah columns for The Jerusalem Post and the NY Jewish Week.
“As a longtime congregational rabbi, and a prolific author and speaker, Rabbi Wolpe brings to bear decades of experience sharing Torah and Jewish ideas with a wide and diverse swath of Jews and non-Jews alike,” said Maimonides Fund Senior Program Officer Ariella Saperstein, who will oversee this portfolio. “And, crucial to our efforts in this area, in his public debates he has modeled respectful, civil discourse even on divisive topics. We are very fortunate to have him leading this work.”
For more on Maimonides Fund’s portfolio areas, visit www.maimonidesfund.org.