Doctor of Humane Letters

Peter J. Rubinstein is the director of Jewish community and the Bronf- man Center for Jewish Life at 92Y in New York. He is also the rabbi emeritus of Central Synagogue, a Reform congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, where he served as the senior rabbi for 23 years. Rubinstein’s passionate commitment to moving communities beyond tolerance and toward respect and acceptance for religious difference has made him a recognized leader in the changing face of Judaism. He is a bridge builder, linking improbable communities, and deeply connected to other religions’ leaders. In an era of thriving fundamentalism and re-enforcement of boundaries, Rubinstein has devoted much of his life to taking down walls and building understanding.

After graduating from Amherst, Rubinstein was ordained by the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, from which he received a master of Hebrew letters degree with honors. He went on to be the Herbert R. Bloch Memorial Fellow at the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, specializing in the history of the Jewish community during the Second Commonwealth. He received a doctorate of divinity in 1994.

Rubinstein was named one of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis” by Newsweek magazine all six years the list was published—and ranked in the top five in three of the editions—as well as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Daily Forward. Rubinstein has served in rabbinical and leadership positions at many religious organizations, including the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism, Auburn Theological Seminary, the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the U.S. board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He has taught at several institutions of higher education, and writes and lectures frequently on the evolution of synagogues and the role of a rabbi now and in the future.