Barry Shrage joins faculty and will lead new Jewish initiative
Former Combined Jewish Philanthropies president Barry Shrage H’17 will join the University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program as a faculty member, University President Ron Liebowitz announced in a March 21 email to the Brandeis community.
“No one has more knowledge of and respect within the Jewish community — both in the Boston area and around the world — than Barry, who led CJP for three incredibly successful decades,” Liebowitz wrote in the email. “He will bring the full measure of his engagement, acumen, and creativity to his new role. We could not be happier to welcome him to Brandeis.”
Shrage announced last spring that he would step down from his position at CJP, a charitable non-profit umbrella organization for institutions in the Greater Boston Jewish community. In his time as the organization’s president, Shrage raised more than $1 billion for the local Jewish community, according to a March 23, 2017 Boston Globe article.
He had held the position since 1987, and under his leadership CJP made efforts to include previously marginalized groups within the Jewish community, including intermarried couples, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities and the poor, according to the Globe article.
Shrage also dedicated time and resources to improving Jewish learning programs. According to the same Globe article, Shrage created Me’ah, an adult study program that has drawn over 5,000 students to studying Jewish texts and tradition. Additionally, he supported the creation of new Jewish day schools and special education for religious schools, the article noted.
“Barry is a transformational leader. What he achieved at CJP over 30 years is stunning. … We are delighted that he will bring that same energy, idealism and drive to Brandeis, where we are committed to reaffirming and strengthening our distinguished Jewish academic and research programs,” Liebowitz said in the University’s official statement on Shrage’s appointment.
At Hornstein, Shrage will train and mentor students, and “help further Hornstein’s role as the premier training ground for future Jewish professional leaders,” according to the University’s statement. Hornstein offers graduate programs that train professionals to use skills rooted in Jewish values. According to the program’s website, its graduates have gone on to gain employment at Jewish federations, Hillel chapters, Jewish community centers, advocacy organizations, camps, schools and start-ups.
In addition to serving as a Hornstein faculty member, Shrage will also lead a new effort, the Initiative for Jewish Identity, through the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies/Steinhardt Social Research Institute. The Initiative for Jewish Identity will develop programming for teaching and engaging the Jewish community, per the statement. The initiative and Shrage’s appointment were made possible through “generous” donations, the statement read.
Both Shrage and Liebowitz touched on the University’s ties to the Jewish community in the statement, with Liebowitz calling Brandeis a “pre-eminent center for Jewish thought and learning.”
“Brandeis is a unique and very special institution,” Shrage agreed. “As President Liebowitz reasserts Brandeis’ role as a global center of scholarship on Judaism, it is an honor to accept this faculty appointment and to join with others in advancing Brandeis as a pre-eminent intellectual center for the Jewish people and the world.”