Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, former Yeshiva University Vice President and Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, Rabbi Emeritus of the Boca Raton Synagogue and founder of the Katz Yeshiva High School, has become President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone (OTS).
Rabbi Brander arrived in Israel on July 25 with his wife Ruchie and youngest son, Yitzchak, fulfilling a lifelong dream of making aliyah. Over the next four weeks, Rabbi Brander will be visiting OTS high schools, yeshivot and seminaries in preparation for the upcoming academic year.
“I can’t imagine a better time to be bringing my family to Israel,” says Brander. “My wife Ruchie and I are honored to be joining such a creative, dynamic organization which makes a tremendous impact on Jewish communities and society worldwide.”
Brander has been working with OTS since February 2018 in preparation for his formal move to Israel and assuming the presidency of the organization.
“Rabbi Brander is the perfect choice to lead this organization, which has had such an effect on Jewish learning and leadership,” says Rabbi Riskin. “I look forward to seeing him take Ohr Torah Stone to even greater heights, with even greater impact and new initiatives.”
OTS is comprised of 27 institutions including high schools, yeshivot hesder for men and women, kollelim and seminaries, women’s leadership and advocacy programs, outreach initiatives, and social action projects. An international Modern Orthodox organization with headquarters in Jerusalem and Efrat, OTS has been illuminating the relevance of authentic Torah Judaism in the modern world for more than three decades.
“Ohr Torah Stone’s central mission is to inform the Jewish world and educate young people in the values that have inspired our people for thousands of years,” says Brander. “The State of Israel finds itself in a time of great opportunity with the ability to contribute to the spiritual life of Jews around the world. We at OTS have been partners in this endeavor. At the same time there is great internal tension in Israeli society. OTS is uniquely positioned to do much to help change the status quo as we interact with hundreds of thousands of Israelis each year and reflect a tolerant caring environment. We must strive to engage all Jews to find their spiritual wings through love, and not, God forbid, through religious coercion.”
At OTS, Brander says he is excited to embrace his new community. “I am impressed by what has already been accomplished by talented OTS professionals and lay leadership. Our schools are top tier educational institutions. We engage hundreds of thousands each year on an international platform, and there is so much more we can achieve.
Rabbi Brander is a graduate of Yeshiva College and received his ordination from RIETS in 1986, during which time (1982-1985) he served as a student assistant to Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Rabbi Brander also received special ordination from the Machon Puah center
of medical ethics in Israel, and from then-Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, in the field of medical ethics, reproductive technology and halakha. He has published numerous articles on Jewish law and philosophy which have appeared in various scholarly journals and delivers popular lectures in various areas of Jewish thought and halakha.
Brander holds a Ph.D. in general philosophy and comparative literature from Florida Atlantic University. He is married to Rachel Tambor Brander. The couple has five children — two of whom already lived in Israel.
About Ohr Torah Stone: Ohr Torah Stone is a Modern Orthodox movement shaping Jewish communities worldwide. Inspired by the unique vision of its founding Chancellor and Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, OTS is energized by the leadership of its President and Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, and Co-Chancellor Rabbi David Stav.
Fueled by a unique combination of 27 educational institutions, women’s leadership and advocacy programs, leadership development, outreach initiatives, and social action projects, OTS has been illuminating the relevance of authentic Torah Judaism in the modern world for more than three decades, making a transformative impact on Jewish life, learning and leadership.