Meir Goldstein starts July 1 as Hillel’s rabbi and executive director.
Meir Goldstein has been named the Michael Steinberg ’61 Rabbi and Executive Director of Dartmouth College Hillel, the William Jewett Tucker Center for Spiritual and Ethical Life announced today. He begins the role July 1.
Goldstein, the associate chaplain for Jewish life at Elon University in Elon, N.C., earned his master’s of rabbinic studies and received his rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University.
“Rabbi Goldstein brings a deep commitment to supporting both vibrant, inclusive Jewish life and meaningful spiritual exploration for students of all backgrounds, cultures, and traditions,” says Rabbi Daveen Litwin, dean and chaplain of the Tucker Center. “He loves to learn and to teach, to listen, and to connect in authentic ways—all exemplary qualities that Dartmouth values.”
“Have you ever visited somewhere where you just felt at home? That has been me at Dartmouth,” Goldstein says. “Every interaction I have had with students, alumni, and professionals at Dartmouth has just felt right. I am tremendously honored and blessed to join the team at Dartmouth Hillel.”
What stands out about the Hillel community, he says, is the engagement of students. “I love how seriously they take the idea of student leadership, from Friday night services to cooking meals. There is a sense of ownership that is the fruit of many years of commitment and hard work.”
In his three years at Elon, Goldstein has worked to build programs to engage Elon’s Jewish community and extend multi-faith opportunities. Among other rabbinical experiences, he served as rabbi for the Commack Jewish Center in Commack, N.Y., and for a 200-family synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he co-founded an interfaith community group and was active with Clergy Against Domestic Violence.
He was director of Jewish life and learning at the Pardes Jewish Day School in Phoenix, Ariz., and has served as a teacher and mentor in Jewish life at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school level, including as a rabbinic intern and Judaics program director of Arizona State University’s Hillel. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s in anthropology, Goldstein worked on an AmeriCorps Vista literacy project in under-resourced schools and did outreach work with homeless youth in Eugene, Ore.
“A favorite teaching of mine comes from Rabbi Hanina, who said, ‘Much have I learned from my rabbis, more have I learned from my friends; yet, the most I have learned from my students,’” Goldstein says. “Working with students—be it learning Torah together, sitting in pastoral care, or planning for a great event—continues to be the greatest source of spiritual fulfillment in my professional life.”
Dartmouth College Hillel, the primary Jewish student organization on campus, is a student-led organization that provides Shabbat and holiday services, social activities, and service and experiential learning opportunities. As rabbi and executive director, Goldstein will serve as the group’s mentor and spiritual leader. He will also be a resource on Jewish life to the broader campus community, working with the Tucker Center to contribute to interfaith dialogue and cultural exchange among students.
Goldstein sees his role as one of community building. “By building community, I mean continuing to infuse the Roth Center with such joy and welcoming that students will consider it their home away from home,” he says. “I see Hillel as being a home for students wherever they are on their journey. At the same time, I seek to share in the wisdom of Jewish learning and rituals. These aspects of Judaism challenge each of us to become our best selves, and to build a community that seeks to be constantly improving—bringing more justice, more kindness, and more love into the world.”
Goldstein’s appointment comes as Dartmouth Hillel prepares to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Roth Center for Jewish Life. The center, named by a gift from Steven Roth ’62, Tuck ’63, transformed the Dartmouth Jewish community when it opened in 1997, at a time when the nearest active synagogue was an hour’s drive away.
During the celebration, April 20-22, the congregation will dedicate a restored 19th-century Torah scroll—a handwritten copy of the central sacred text in the Jewish tradition—from Brno, Czech Republic, for which the College, Dartmouth College Hillel, and the Upper Valley Jewish Community are now trustees. Originally dedicated in 1861, the scroll, which survived the Holocaust, will be read at Shabbat morning services on April 21. The celebration will also honor another Holocaust survivor, the Honorable Thomas Buergenthal, who served as a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands.
In coming to Dartmouth, Goldstein is taking up the role filled for the past two decades by Rabbi Edward Boraz, who is leaving Hanover to lead a Reform congregation in Wausau, Wis.
Among his contributions to Jewish life at Dartmouth, Boraz helped establish the Pavilion, which provides kosher meals at the Class of 1953 Commons, and spearheaded Project Preservation, a Hillel-based cross-cultural service and education program that brings students from all religious backgrounds to eastern Europe to restore Jewish cemeteries and learn about the impact of the Holocaust.
“Rabbi Boraz brought his heart and soul to Dartmouth students, faculty, staff, and community members for the past twenty years,” says Litwin. “He leaves immeasurable legacies of support and transformation through sharing his love of study, his spiritual expression through music and prayer, and his compassionate leadership.”
Goldstein says, “It is rare to be in a position to walk into a community that has had so many successes. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of Rabbi Boraz, whose leadership has paved the way in building a phenomenal program. It is both Dartmouth Hillel’s as well as my good fortune that Hillel’s staff, Claudia Palmer and Emma Wunsch, will join me in continuing to grow and thrive.”
Hannah Silverstein can be reached at [email protected].