Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies

Biography

Bradley Shavit "Brad" Artson (born 1959) is an American rabbi, author, speaker, and the occupant of the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, where he is Vice-President. He supervises the Louis and Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and provides educational and religious oversight for Camp Ramah of California. He is Dean of the Zecharias Frankel College at the University of Potsdam in Germany, ordaining Conservative/Masorti Rabbis for the European Union.

 

Education and career

Born and raised in San Francisco, Artson holds the A.B. Degree from Harvard College, cum laude, in 1981. As an undergraduate, he served as the LBJ Intern for United States Representative Burton and was an intern for United States Senator Alan Cranston. Following graduation, Artson was a Legislative Assistant to the Speaker of the California Assembly for two years and was ordained with honors by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1988. He wrote his first book, Love Peace and Pursue Peace: A Jewish Response to War and Nuclear Annihilation while in rabbinical school. During his last year at rabbinical school, he served as the part time rabbinic intern at Bolton Street Synagogue in Baltimore.

For 10 years, Artson served as the Rabbi of Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, which grew under his tenure from about 200 families to over 600. During that period, his Introduction to Judaism course helped over 200 people convert to Judaism, and 10 of his congregants have entered the rabbinate in turn.

From 1998 - 1999, Artson was a member of the Senior Management of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and served as the Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. In 1999, he began his work at the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University). In addition to his work as Rabbinical School Dean and University Vice-President, Rabbi Artson received his D.H.L. at the Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion in Contemporary Jewish Theology, under the supervision of Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson.

His scholarly fields are Jewish philosophy and theology, particularly a process approach integrating contemporary scientific insights from cosmology, quantum physics, evolutionary theory and neuroscience to a dynamic view of God, Torah, Mitzvot and ethics. He is a charter member of the Society for the Study of Judaism and Science.

Leadership

A prominent leader of Conservative Judaism, Artson serves on the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism. He supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and the Center for Jewish Outreach at American Jewish University and he mentors Camp Ramah in California. Rabbi Artson writes a weekly Torah commentary that has over 13,000 internet subscribers. He is the author of 7 books, most recently Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, The Binding of Isaac and The Bedside Torah: Wisdom, Visions & Dreams. He is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and he has written over 250 articles in several magazines.

He is also Dean of the Zecharias Frankel College at the University of Potsdam, Germany, ordaining Conservative/Masorti rabbis for the European Union under the religious supervision of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

In 2008, Artson ordained Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, the leader of the Abayudaya Tribe and participated a rabbinic delegation to Uganda to install him as the first African Rabbi in Subsaharan Africa. While in Africa he joined a Beit Din in converting 250 Africans from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda. A Regional Chief bestowed upon him the African name Walusansa Salongo.

Artson launched the WALKING WITH … series, an annual series of books distributed free of charge and available on the web as complimentary PDF files. In 2007 he produced Walking With God, in 2008, Walking With Justice, in 2009, Walking With Life, and in 2010, Walking With the Jewish Calendar. For the past few years he has also produced an annual Selichot DVD, Choose Life, a series of conversations with Rabbi Artson, Rabbi David Wolpe, Rabbi Naomi Levy, Rabbi Edward Feinstein, and Rabbi Sharon Brous. It can be viewed at [2]. Under his direction, the Ziegler School sponsors a podcast page link that presents the monthly discussions of Rabbi Artson, a Rebbe's Tisch of Reb Mimi Feigelson, lessons on the Siddur and prayer by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, and a Halakhah Yomi by Rabbi Aaron Alexander.

Artson has served on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and as a speaker for UJC/Federation communities.

Personal

Artson is married to Elana Shavit Artson, and they are the parents of twins, Shira and Jacob.