BERKELEY, Calif. — The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) announces the inauguration of Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann as President. The GTU is recognized worldwide as the foremost destination for interreligious learning and leadership, and Lehmann is the first Rabbi to head the institution in its 57-year history.
An inauguration defines a new era. Since assuming his position in August 2018, Rabbi Lehmann, a renowned expert in education, pluralism and Jewish thought for over 30 years, has listened to a wide range of constituents and made significant progress in spearheading first-of-their-kind programs; expanded strategic partnerships; and secured significant new fundraising.
According to GTU board chair Susan Hoganson, "President Lehmann has indeed begun a new period of progress, growth and expansion at the GTU. He is also creating a vision of GTU as an innovative, dynamic environment for scholarship and discourse that will address the critical issues of our time."
One of Rabbi Lehmann's most important initiatives is the announcement of a landmark $2.5 million grant from the Hellman Foundation. The grant will help establish an innovative interfaith chaplaincy program at the GTU with tracks for Jewish, Islamic and Hindu chaplaincy, and expand and enhance programs that further exploration of interreligious Jewish and Islamic scholarship and dialogue such as the expansion of the GTU's Madrasa-Midrasha program, a creative interreligious partnership that builds understanding and engagement between Jewish and Muslim communities. Madrasa-Midrasha is housed in both the GTU's Center for Islamic Studies and Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies, which focuses on the advanced study of Jewish history, culture and literature from antiquity to modern times with a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship.
Another important new initiative is the GTU's first fully online program, a Certificate in Interreligious Studies, which will launch next fall.
"At a time of growing polarization in our country, many view religion as a significant cause of our cultural division," states Rabbi Lehmann. "But I believe religion, when shaped by a commitment to pluralism, can be a powerful source for healing and hope. Our scholarship and models of collaboration can point the way."
Rabbi Lehmann came to the GTU from Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts where he was president and professor of pluralism and Jewish education. He also served as Board Chair of the Boston Theological Institute.
The Graduate Theological Union is the largest and most diverse partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States. We are a consortium and academy as well as a dynamic laboratory that provides scholar-innovators with a staging ground to reimagine the future of interreligious life. An education with the GTU equips leaders to translate learning into actions that will have a tangible impact in the world.