AJU Names Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh as VP for Jewish Engagement

With her new role, Rabizadeh will lead an effort to ensure that AJU programming is ubiquitous across the country.

Last week, American Jewish University (AJU) named Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh as their vice president for Jewish Engagement, starting on August 15.

Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh

Rabizadeh will direct the university’s Maas Center for Jewish Journeys, which champions those often relegated to the periphery of Jewish life, and the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program. She will also supervise the Ziering Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI), Community Mikveh and Marriage for Life and Opening Doors courses.

“With gratitude and appreciation, I am thrilled to join AJU in this capacity,” Rabizadeh said via press release. “Teaching and curriculum writing is my passion, and having worked with the Miller Intro to Judaism Program for many years, I have seen first-hand how it’s been able to change lives.”

Currently the director of student life at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Hillel and the Simha and Sara Lainer Senior Jewish Educator, Rabizadeh was ordained at Hebrew Union College-JIR. She served as the Jewish Emergent Network Fellow at The Kitchen in San Francisco and was a Milken Community High School faculty member.

AJU is a thriving center of resources and talent that advances the Jewish journeys of individuals, organizations and their communities through excellence in scholarship, teaching, engaged conversation and outreach.

With her new role, Rabizadeh will lead an effort to ensure that AJU programming is ubiquitous across the country.

“We are honored to bring Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh onto our senior leadership team during a time of strategic transformation at AJU,” said Dr. Jeffrey Herbst, president of American Jewish University. “With previous experience engaging college students at UCLA and non-Jews, Jews by choice or those on the periphery of Jewish life, I am confident that Rabbi Tarlan will be a fantastic leader, bringing new ideas and vision to our diverse programs and offerings at AJU.”

As a Persian Jew in an overwhelmingly Ashkenazi community, Rabizadeh has made it her mission to bridge the gap between the communities. It has afforded her the insight to prioritize diverse understandings of Judaism. For instance, at UCLA, Rabizadeh has facilitated conversations between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews on Jewish rituals and practices.

Rabizadeh, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in Hebrew from Boston University, began her career as a Jewish professional by attending the HUC-JIR Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles. She graduated with a master’s degree in Jewish education. She served as interim director of the religious school at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village, CA. Rabizadeh fulfilled internships in Monessen, Penn., New York City, High Point, North Carolina and the HUC-JIR National Office of Recruitment and Admissions during rabbinical school.

The rabbi’s aim is to create more meaningful and inclusive Jewish experiences across the North American Jewish community, which is in alignment with the goals of AJU.

“AJU’s mission to engage and educate a diverse group of students on a Jewish journey excites me, and I am inspired to be part of such a prominent Jewish institution,” Rabizadeh said. “I look forward to joining Dr. Herbst and a highly committed board and staff in leading innovative and inclusive developments at the university.”

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