Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, former vice president of Yeshiva University and Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future, has succeeded Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as president and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone (OTS).
“I look forward to seeing him take Ohr Torah Stone to even greater heights,” said Rabbi Riskin.
OTS, an international Modern Orthodox organization with headquarters in Jerusalem and Efrat, is comprised of 27 institutions including high schools, yeshivot hesder for men and women, kollelim and seminaries, women’s leadership and advocacy programs, outreach initiatives, and social action projects.
“Ohr Torah Stone’s central mission is to inform the Jewish world and educate young people in the values that have inspired our people for thousands of years,” said Rabbi Brander. “The State of Israel finds itself in a time of great opportunity with the ability to contribute to the spiritual life of Jews around the world.
Rabbi Brander has been working with OTS since February 2018 in preparation for his formal move to Israel and assuming leadership of the organization.
“I can’t imagine a better time to be bringing my family to Israel,” says Brander, on making aliyah last month. “My wife Ruchie and I are honored to be joining such a creative, dynamic organization which makes a tremendous impact on Jewish communities and society worldwide.
“We at OTS have been partners in this endeavor. At the same time, there is great internal tension in Israeli society. OTS is uniquely positioned to do much to help change the status quo as we interact with hundreds of thousands of Israelis each year and reflect a tolerant caring environment. We must strive to engage all Jews to find their spiritual wings through love, and not, God forbid, through religious coercion.”
Rabbi Brander is a graduate of Yeshiva College and received his ordination from RIETS in 1986, during which time he served as a student assistant to Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Rabbi Brander has also received special ordination from the Machon Puah center of medical ethics in Israel, and from then-Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, in the field of medical ethics, reproductive technology and halacha. He holds a Ph.D. in general philosophy and comparative literature from Florida Atlantic University, has published numerous articles on Jewish law and in scholarly journals, and delivers popular lectures in areas of Jewish thought and halakha.
In addition, he is rabbi emeritus of the Boca Raton Synagogue and founder of the Katz Yeshiva High School. He and his wife have five children, two of whom had already moved to Israel.