In October 2022, the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies came together to celebrate and thank our outgoing President, Prof. Doron Bar. The institute celebrated, where else? At the Israeli Museum, with a tour in his honor to study Jerusalem related art, folklore, and archeology.
Good Things Come in Sevens
Prof. Bar, outgoing President of the institution, led Schechter for seven years, and is a seventh generation Jerusalemite.
Following Prof. Bar into Schechter’s presidency is Prof. Ari Ackerman, Associate Professor for Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Education who officially began his new position on October 1st, 2022.
Reflecting on his time as president, Bar noted, “I feel spectacular that I was given this extraordinary opportunity to be a part of this important mission to be a major part of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies leadership and to be able to not only influence the institution but also, and primarily, Israeli society.”
Bar recognizes that Israelis are thirsting for more knowledge in all areas of Jewish studies that helps them illuminate their past, their present and their future.
“I have seen how huge an interest Israelis have for Jewish studies. They long to learn more about their own selves and inquire about their Jewish and Israeli identity. The challenge before us is how to best create connections in a real and visceral way between Israeli society and our important field. Many of us want and actually need a connection to our roots, to the tradition, to the spiritual underpinnings, the religion, the national aspect in the Bible, Midrash, to S.Y. Agnon and modern Israeli singer-songwriter Meir Arieli,” Bar reported.
Tributes to Bar
Eitan Cooper, Schechter’s Executive Vice President, and the person who worked closely with on a daily basis, termed Bar’s decision making process, intense yet relaxed.
“Bar thoroughly reviews every option through and through before taking his decision. This is something we can all learn from and use in our own evaluation process. I work hard to ensure that I too can find his inner stamina in my own decision making,” remarked Cooper.
Jonathan Steinberg, chairman of Schechter Institute’s board of directors worked hand in hand with Bar during the seven years of Bar’s presidency.
He complimented Bar’s management methods.
“His personality allows him to listen to each and every one, to teach and learn from each person, and share thoughts with others during the process. Bar’s decisions as a leader generated success in managing Schechter during challenging times,” Steinberg said.
During the earliest episodes of the Corona virus pandemic, Steinberg remembered that Bar’s leadership enabled the institution to move extremely quickly and nimbly to off-campus learning without forsaking its students’ learning opportunities. Steinberg smiled when mentioning that Schechter, in fact, gained students during the pandemic.
New Schechter President Prof. Ari Ackerman said he was privileged to work closely with Bar over many years as a dean and academic advisor.
“I can personally attest that Bar’s overriding concern in his decision making was how will his decision affect Schechter’s workforce. His actions came from his exceptional modesty and moral sensitivity,” he notes.
As for Bar’s future, Ackerman noted, “I wish Doron only the best as he embarks on a well-earned sabbatical year and that he will continue to expand the institution’s public reputation through his exceptional teaching and research.”