(Courtesy of Carmel Academy) Carmel Academy has appointed Rabbi Rachmiel Gurwitz as the school’s rabbi in residence. Rabbi Gurwitz, who will formally join Carmel Academy’s faculty in August, will enrich the Carmel Academy community’s Jewish learning and living through new experiential programming and classroom teaching. He will oversee the school’s tefillah curriculum and collaborate with the faculty to further promote Carmel Academy’s vision and commitment to pluralistic Jewish education. In addition, he will be involved in community outreach to enrich family and adult Jewish experiences.
“The Carmel community is beautifully unique in that it does what seems almost impossible in today’s world. It provides a rich educational platform where students who hold diverse Jewish practices come together as a learning community to embody Jewish values and high academic standards,” said Head of School Nora Anderson. “As we embarked on our search for a new rav beit sefer we convened a religiously diverse parent search committee, which advised our leadership team on the creation of a job description and provided guidance throughout the interview process.”
Originally from San Diego, California, Rabbi Gurwitz received his semicha from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) in Riverdale. He is currently serving as Jewish chaplain and Hillel director at Muhlenberg College Hillel in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During his four years at YCT, Rabbi Gurwitz participated in chaplaincy with Holocaust survivors, worked for Filipino migrant workers’ rights with T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and built his entrepreneurial repertoire as a fellow with the Office of Innovation at Hillel International. Prior to his ordination from YCT, Rabbi Gurwitz received a bachelor of arts in global and international studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and completed post baccalaureate studies at the David Shapell College of Jewish Studies/Darche Noam in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Gurwitz is passionate about making Judaism, sacred texts and Jewish practice accessible and available to students of all backgrounds and abilities. In addition, he has a great deal of experience working with Jewish youth of all ages, serving as a unit leader at Eden Village Camp, an educator and trip leader with Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute and a teacher with Ansche Chesed Hebrew School and JCC Meyerhoff Early Childhood Education Center.
“One thing that truly impressed me during my visit to Carmel Academy was when I asked a group of parents why they chose Carmel, every parent had their own unique answer. It showed me that Carmel Academy is a place where each student, each family is nurtured according to what they need to grow and develop their own authentic Jewish identity. I am so excited to join a community that is devoted to each student’s Jewish journey and where students of many religious observances and backgrounds can come together to enrich each other’s Jewish experience,” said Rabbi Gurwitz.
Rabbi Gurwitz will be relocating to the New York area this summer with his wife Joanna and their two young sons.