Dean Search


April 14, 2022 / 13 Nisan 5782

For more information, contact:
Tivona Reith, AOP Shomeret,
SooJi Min-Maranda, ALEPH Executive Director,

Following a six-month search process, the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) and ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal are delighted to announce the hire of Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, Ph.D., as AOP Dean, effective June 6, 2022. Rabbi Kleinberg will succeed the AOP’s founding dean, Rabbi Marcia Prager, who, along with Associate Dean Rabbi Steven Silvern, retired January 1, 2022.

The hire of Rabbi Kleinberg culminated from a unanimous recommendation to the AOP VAAD from the Dean Search Committee (DSC), glowing impressions from participants in stakeholder meet-and-greet gatherings (which included representatives from the VAAD, AOP student executive committee, AOP staff, ALEPH board, and Reb Marcia), and unanimous consent from the AOP VAAD.

In its recommendation report to the VAAD, the DSC summarized its enthusiastic support as follows:

Although most of us on the DSC did not know Darren well before the interview process began, we were all struck by his combination of heart and intellect, his pedagogic chops, his ability to think deeply and collaboratively as well as by his experience in successfully administering and helping to grow several multi-faceted Jewish educational programs. We found Darren to be a person of anavah and of deep Jewish learning that gently infuses his every day speech and way of being in the world. While Darren does not “come from” the ALEPH world writ small, he is a Renewalist and has been moving towards us for some time. Indeed, he has been deeply influenced by Reb Zalman . . .

In her conversation with Rabbi Kleinberg, Reb Marcia noted: 

I found him to be thoughtful, self-reflective, really smart, inclined to cooperation and a collegial style, interpersonally savvy … Clearly a multi-talented and highly motivated guy, and a mentsch. . . .  His enthusiasm for the AOP emphasis on spiritual growth and spiritual practice touched me. He is one of the few people I know who has read Reb Zalman’s book Spiritual Intimacy and PhD thesis on Hasidic counseling from cover to cover and taught from those texts.

More detailed information will be posted to the ALEPH website after Pesach, including a biosketch and resume for Rabbi Kleinberg, a link to a podcast interview, impressions from meet-and-greet participants, overview of the search process, etc. Chag sameach!


ALEPH Ordination Program

Request for Applications for Dean Position

Organizational Background
One of the leading Jewish seminaries, the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) was launched nearly 20 years ago. More than 200 rabbis, cantors, rabbinic pastors and spiritual directors from diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and representing nearly every denomination have been trained to serve the global Jewish community with the goal of revitalizing Judaism. 

In our next stage, the ALEPH seminary is poised to build new models of community, birth new spiritual technologies, and bring increased consciousness to Judaism’s potential for healing the planet. Our work is rooted in the rich legacy of Jewish mystical/Hasidic traditions and the deep wisdom of Jewish life and practice.

The AOP Dean works part-time and reports to ALEPH’s Executive Director. The ED will consult as appropriate with the AOP Vaad, the Academic Council of the AOP. The AOP’s current budget is approximately $560,000 with 32 faculty members and nearly 100 students. The new Dean will herald the next generation of leadership in the greater religious community, including the development of state-recognized degree-granting programs, establishing an endowment, and achieving accreditation.

The AOP is part of a national organization, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. ALEPH brings spiritual vitality and passion into the daily lives of Jews through programs that empower leadership, build communities, and generate transformative experiences and practical resources.

AOP Dean Job Qualifications

The next AOP Dean will be inspiring, inclusive and authentic. While we understand that no single individual will embody every skill set or quality, the successful candidate will demonstrate many of the following qualifications and attributes:

High level of emotional and spiritual intelligence and capacity for self-reflection and self improvement

Experience with geographically dispersed culture, teams, and management

Strategic problem solver

Able to maintain independent judgment and professional boundaries

Adaptive to evolving Judaism and a changing student body

Skilled in organizational change management

Inspiring presence for students, prospective students, alumni, and as AOP public face

Can work well with ALEPH Executive leadership and AOP leadership and staff

In relationship with Reb Zalman’s teachings, Renewal principles and a mystical Judaism; views position as part of spiritual practice

Financial acumen and fundraising experience, including a track record of raising significant funds from a variety of sources and network of contacts with foundations and individual donor prospects

Capacity to toggle between spaciousness/vision and tactical requirements; able to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders and interests

Clergy ordination may be helpful but is not required.

Preferred Experience

Experience in leadership/administration within a higher-education context or related fields; demonstrated familiarity with geographically dispersed learning, preferred.

Experience hiring, managing, and developing a diverse staff; experience with geographically dispersed management is highly desirable.

Reputation as a principled strategic collaborator with keen listening skills and the ability to bridge philosophies and perspectives.

Significant experience with financial and budget management and strategy that is grounded in standard financial practices.

Geographic Location

Flexible. ALEPH and the AOP largely operate digitally, with at least two (2) in-person gatherings/retreats per year.

Salary Range

Salary range is $50,000-$60,000, depending on experience.

We are an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, LGBTQ individuals and people of all traditionally marginalized identities to apply.

Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.

Application Instructions

Applications will be reviewed at the close of the application period and eligible candidates will be contacted to arrange interviews. Please send a cover letter, a vita/resume, and any supporting materials you would like to include, as a single PDF document to:

All materials must be received by December 31, 2021.

AOP Dean Search Update #3

February 16, 2022
Issued by AOP Search Committee Task Force
For more information, contact:
Shelby Haverson, AOP Operations Manager,

On August 13, 2021, Rabbi Marcia Prager and Rabbi Steve Silvern publicly announced their intention to retire in early 2022 as Dean and Associate Dean, respectively, of the ALEPH Ordination Programs (AOP). The AOP VAAD/core faculty created a Search Committee (SC) to conduct the search for a new Dean. The SC was fully constituted on September 3, 2021, just before the start of the High Holy Days, and an official position announcement was publicly posted on November 15, 2021, with an application due date of December 31, 2021.

Update as of February 16, 2022
During January, the Search Committee reviewed materials submitted by 18 applicants. Eight candidates were selected for first-round interviews in February, which have been completed. Following SC deliberation, second-round interviews of a shortened list of candidates will be scheduled in March. Also in January, the SC sent out a survey to ALEPH stakeholder groups, soliciting opinions about short-term and long-term hopes and opportunities for the AOP, as well as critical
challenges. The survey also invited respondents to consider what one essential question they would ask a dean candidate. Survey responses were received from approximately 60 people, and the insights shared have been valuable in shaping interview questions and candidate evaluation criteria.

AOP Dean Search Update #2

October 18, 2021

Issued by AOP Search Committee Task Force

For more information, contact:

Shelby Haverson, AOP Operations Manager,


On August 13, 2021, Rabbi Marcia Prager and Rabbi Steve Silvern publicly announced their intention to retire in early 2022 as Dean and Associate Dean, respectively, of the ALEPH Ordination Programs (AOP).  The AOP VAAD/core faculty created a Search Committee (SC) to conduct the search for a new Dean.  The SC was fully constituted on September 3, 2021, just before the start of the High Holy Days.

Update as of October 18, 2021

The Search Committee resumed its work on October 1, 2021, following the conclusion of the month of chagim/holidays.  It is engaged in the following activities:

  1. Developing the official job description and solicitation announcement, as part of the Request for Applications (RFA) to be posted later this month or early November.
  2. Clarifying communication and confidentiality protocols that will govern its work.
  3. Researching best practices related to a position search of this importance.

The SC also developed a set of Understandings and Intentions for its work, as follows:

The search for a new dean for the ALEPH Ordination Programs is a holy task and a sacred obligation.  

Our work together has the potential to shape the future of the AOP, the legacies of Reb Zalman and Reb Marcia, and the training and deployment of Jewish Renewal clergy for years to come.

Our work is of critical interest and importance to many “spirit-holders” (aka stakeholders) for whom Jewish Renewal provides spiritual purpose, meaning, and sustenance. 

Our ultimate aspiration is to be guided by spiritual discernment, to craft a process that is both transparent and efficient, and to cultivate an inclusive, coordinated, and beneficial approach to sharing information and reaching decisions. 

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, or Reb Zalman as he preferred to be known, was one of the most influential Jewish spiritual leaders of his generation. Countless innovations in Jewish life and worship sprang from his creative mind and from his ceaseless work as a visionary pioneer in contemporary Jewish life.

His ideas and work influenced the birth of the Havurah movement, the international Jewish Renewal movement, numerous Jewish retreat centers and innovative social-change programs, the interfaith eldering wisdom movement, as well as the ordination programs for rabbis, cantors and rabbinic pastors that began as B’nai Or Religious Fellowship, later became P’nai Or Religious Fellowship, and eventually coalesced to form the current ALEPH Ordination Program/AOP.

AOP dates its origins back to the mid-1970s and progressively evolved over the course of four decades to where it is today.

AOP Dean Search Update #1

September 13, 2021 / 7 Tishrei 5872

Issued by AOP Search Committee Task Force

For more information, contact:

Shelby Haverson, AOP Operations Manager,


On August 13, 2021, Rabbi Marcia Prager and Rabbi Steve Silvern publicly announced their intention to retire in early 2022 as Dean and Associate Dean, respectively, of the ALEPH Ordination Programs (AOP).  The AOP VAAD had been notified prior to the public announcement, and in July 2021 approved formation of a Search Committee (SC) Task Force.  The SC was approved to include 3 VAAD representatives, 1 student nominated by the ALEPH Student Board, 1 ALEPH representative nominated by ALEPH’s Executive Director, and 1 AOP musmach/mechet (alumnus/alumna) selected from a list nominated by the VAAD.  The SC is authorized to write a position announcement, broadcast the search, receive and review applications, create a short list of candidates, interview the short list via an interview process inclusive of AOP stakeholders, and make a recommendation for hire to the VAAD.

Update as of 9/13/2021

The Search Committee was fully constituted on September 3, 2021 with the following members:

VAAD representatives:

Rabbi Elliot Ginsburg, Rabbinic Pastor Tivona Reith, Rabbi Shulamit Thiede

Student representative:  Alan Levin

ALEPH representative:  SooJi Min-Maranda

Musmach representative:  Rabbi Lex Rofeberg

Administrative support and guidance:  Shelby Haverson

A preliminary timeline for the search process currently anticipates a public posting of the Request for Applications (RFA) for the AOP Dean Position sometime in early fall, with applications due late fall to early winter.  The RFA will include details on how interested applicants can apply and what should be included in their application.

At this time, those interested in applying can forward their name (no resumes, please) to AOP Operations Manager Shelby Haverson, and will be sent the RFA simultaneous with the public posting.  In addition, AOP stakeholders will be encouraged to forward the posting to those they think should apply, and will have opportunities later in the process for input on the final candidate(s).

For more information, please contact Shelby Haverson,