Rabbi Philip Graubart Signs on as SDJA’s First-Ever Chief Jewish Officer

by Harry Katcher July 27, 2017


rabbi_graubartRabbi Philip Graubart, former Senior Rabbi of La Jolla’s Congregation Beth El, was recently named as San Diego Jewish Academy’s (SDJA) first-ever “Chief Jewish Officer” where he will  direct overall Jewish learning at the school. Rabbi Graubart was also named as the Director of the school’s Advanced Institute for Judaic Studies (AIJS). At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, having built a strong foundation for the Institute, Rabbi Nathan Laufer and his wife Sharon decided to return to Israel to be with their burgeoning family. To build upon the excellent work of Rabbi Laufer, SDJA searched for someone who could continue the AIJS and were pleased to bring Rabbi Graubart on board.

“Rabbi Graubart has had a stellar career as a congregational rabbi for Congregation Beth El in La Jolla,” said Chaim Heller, SDJA’s Head of School. “He has also served in leadership positions throughout San Diego and North America.”

Rabbi Graubart was on the executive committee of the United Synagogue, served as president of the San Diego Rabbinic Association, sat on the board of San Diego Hillel, and contributed teaching and strategic advice to many other Jewish organizations, including the Federation, Jewish Family Service, the Leichtag Foundation, and San Diego Jewish Academy.

Rabbi Graubart has also been a teacher and consultant at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and has been a frequent lecturer and teacher at SDJA over the past few years. He is also an accomplished author. He’s published six books and his writings on Jewish life, politics, and culture have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and newspapers, including Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, and the Jerusalem Report.

“Our students will benefit from Rabbi Graubart’s excellent teaching, warm and compassionate soul, and keen sense of humor,” said Heller. “He will be engaging with students in a variety of ways, including direct teaching, weekly sessions of ‘Ask the Rabbi,’ teaching our faculty, leading drop-in Torah study for parents, and more.”

The primary purpose of the Academy’s Advanced Institute for Judaic Studies is to provide top-tier Judaic education for their students. SDJA is also looking to build a school-community connection over Jewish learning.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be joining the SDJA team beginning this fall,” said Graubart. “SDJA is the institution that gave my children their essential Jewish identities. The Academy’s faculty, students and staff taught them to appreciate and respect different approaches to Judaism, to value ethical Jewish living, to place Israel at the center of their Jewish identities, to love learning in all its forms, and to see life as a constant journey toward the sacred. I’m so grateful to be given the opportunity to help impart these great lessons to a new generation of students.”

“SDJA students will have the opportunity for Judaic learning that goes beyond what is typically offered in a pluralistic school,” said Heller, “and they will experience the integration of Judaic Studies and Israel in the general studies curriculum.”

“I recognized what a great asset SDJA was to Jewish life in San Diego,” said Graubart. “Besides offering a high quality Jewish education to hundreds of Jewish students every year, the Academy created and nurtured the families who became the backbone of our Jewish community. SDJA families lead our efforts in support of Israel, built our tikkun olam structure, volunteered in every dimension of Jewish life, and, most importantly, honored the essentially pluralistic nature of our San Diego Jewish community.”

“It will be my great pleasure and privilege at this point in my career,” added Graubart, “to work directly with these families, along with an outstanding and dedicated team of teachers, administrators, staff, and community supporters.”


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