Meet the Board

Executive Committee

President: Aaron Gross, PhD, University of San Diego
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Aaron S. Gross is a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego and holds graduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of California, Santa Barbara's Department of Religious Studies. At USD he is developing a broad array of courses in the study of Jewish traditions exploring the systems of knowledge, forms of expressivity, religious practices, and inter-religious engagements of Jewish communities in different historical periods and geographic regions. He co-chairs the Consultation on Animals and Religion at the American Academy of Religion. His forthcoming edited volume, Animal Others and the Human Imagination, aims to make a major contribution to the growing new literature of Animal Studies. His articles have appeared in the Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, Shofar, and Tikkun. Gross founded Farm Forward in 2006 and serves as its Executive Vice President. He has spent more than two years in South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka) doing research or nonprofit work.

Gross’s research centers on contemporary American Jewish thought and practice (especially food practices) with a comparative interest in South Asian (Jain, Buddhist, Hindu) traditions. Theoretically he focuses on the significance of animals and the category “animal” for the study of religion, with attention to ethical considerations and how thinking about what it means to be human is bound with ideas about animality. His work owes a special debt to the thought of Jacques Derrida.

Vice President: Joel Gereboff, PhD, Arizona State University
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Joel Gereboff is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University. He has served as department chair and faculty head of Religious Studies and was the cofounder of Jewish Studies. He received his PhD from Brown University in History of Judaism in Late Antiquity and his BA from New York University in Philosophy.

Dr. Gereboff’s scholarship focuses on issues in Jewish ethics, early rabbinic Judaism and American Judaism. His most recent project deals with the study of Judaism and the emotions, with particular attention to anger, shame and hate. He has served in Arizona on a number of projects related to bioethics, including service on several hospital ethics committees. His teaching has included visiting appointments at the University of California, San Diego, California State University, Northridge, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles and The Academy for Jewish Religion, California.

Secretary/Treasurer: Michal Raucher, PhD, University of Cincinnati
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Michal Raucher is an assistant professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her PhD in Religious Studies at Northwestern University, studying religion, anthropology and ethics. During that time Dr. Raucher also earned a certificate in Gender Studies.

As a Fulbright Fellow, Dr. Raucher conducted ethnographic research on reproductive ethics of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish women in Israel. She has been awarded grants from the Wenner Gren Foundation for anthropological research, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Crown Family Foundation. Professor Raucher has written on sexuality and gender in Judaism, religion and bioethics, and abortion legislation in Israel.

Dr. Raucher is a consultant for the United Nations Population Fund, where she works with colleagues from around the world on improving reproductive and sexual rights and health for women and children. She has received degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her participation on the board of the SJE, Michal is the chair of the Bioethics group of the Society of Jewish Ethics and sits on the steering committees for the Women and Religion section and the Anthropology of Religion section of the American Academy of Religion. She was a visiting scholar at the Hastings Center and at Yale University's Center for Bioethics in 2011.

Past President

Rabbi Geoffrey Claussen, PhD, Elon University

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Vice President: Geoffrey Claussen, PhD, Elon UniversityGeoffrey Claussen is the Lori and Eric Sklut Scholar in Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University. He holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Carleton College, and his M.A., rabbinic ordination, and Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Prior to joining the Elon faculty, he taught at Oberlin College and served as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. 

Claussen's scholarship focuses on Jewish virtue ethics and the legacy of the nineteenth-century Musar movement, and he has particular interests in questions of love and justice, war and violence, and moral education. His first book, Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar, was published by SUNY Press in 2015. His articles have appeared in journals including the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, The Hedgehog Review, Conservative Judaism, CrossCurrents, Shofar, the Journal of Scriptural Reasoning, and the Journal of Jewish Ethics. He is presently working on an anthology titled Modern Musar: Contested Virtues in Jewish Thought.


Elias Sacks, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder 

(2017-2019, first term)

Elias Sacks is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard University and studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he earned an M.A. in Religion from Columbia University (2007) and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University (2012). His research focuses on the modern period, with particular areas of interest including Jewish thought, Jewish-Christian relations, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, hermeneutics, and religious ethics. His first book, entitled The Living Script: Moses Mendelssohn’s Historical Judaism, explores the theory of Jewish practice in the Hebrew and German writings of Moses Mendelssohn, the eighteenth-century philosopher generally seen as the founder of modern Jewish thought. Sacks’s recent and forthcoming articles explore Mendelssohn as well as other figures in medieval and modern Jewish thought, including Moses Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza, Nachman Krochmal, Hermann Cohen, and Jacob Taubes. Sacks also serves as a translator for a new English edition of Mendelssohn’s writings (Brandeis University Press, 2011, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award), along with a new collection of Cohen’s works and an anthology of responses to Spinoza (Brandeis University Press).

Alyssa Henning, Northwestern University

(2017-2019, last term)

Alyssa Henning is a doctoral candidate in Religion, Ethics, and Public Life; she is also pursuing a law degree through Northwestern's JD/PhD program. She has wide-ranging interests in bioethics and the relation between law and ethics. Her dissertation, "Lifnim Mishurat Hadin: Jewish Sources, Ethics, and Research with Human Subjects," develops a distinctly Jewish approach to the ethics of using human subjects in medical research by analyzing Jewish narratives to articulate the ethical obligations, beyond regulatory compliance, that researchers owe their subjects. Alyssa holds the 2014-2015 Crown Fellowship from the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. She is an active member of the Society of Jewish Ethics, and her advisor is Laurie Zoloth. Alyssa received her BA in Bioethics and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.

Jeffrey Rubenstein, New York University

(2017-2019, first term)

Program Co-Chairs

Emily Filler, Earlham College (2016-2018)

Yoni Brafman, Jewish Theological Seminary (2017-2019)

Journal of Jewish Ethics Representative

Jonathan Crane, Emory University 

Past Presidents of the SJE

Geoffrey Claussen, 2015-2017
Jonathan K. Crane, 2013-2015
Aaron L. Mackler, 2011-2013
Toby Schonfeld, 2009-2011
David Teutsch, 2007-2009
Elliot N. Dorff, 2005-2007
Louis E. Newman, 2003-2005
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