For the fifth time in as many years, Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI), was named as one of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in the United States in Newsweek Magazine’s April 17th issue. The compilers of the list describe why he was selected:
If there’s one rabbi who keeps nudging the tent open, it’s Olitzky, director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, which speaks chiefly to interfaith and unaffiliated families. Among his central messages is that Jewish institutions should worry less about preventing intermarriage and more about introducing all couples – Jewish or interfaith – to the benefits of raising children with a vital Jewish life.
Under Kerry’s leadership, JOI has continued to develop new programs that identify the needs of those who feel excluded from the Jewish community. The Mothers Circle program ensures that women of other backgrounds raising Jewish children have the information and resources necessary to help them create a Jewish home. The Mothers Circle is just one example of the many unique educational programs offered by JOI.
During the past year, JOI launched a strategic plan that will take us on an exciting path to reach tens of thousands of intermarried families and unengaged Jews and encourage their participation in Jewish life. We are proud of Kerry’s dedication to JOI’s cause to transform the Jewish community into a more welcoming and inclusive space for all in our midst.