Rabbi Sid Schwarz has been a congregational rabbi, a social entrepreneur, the CEO of several non-profits and an author. Currently, Sid serves as a senior fellow at Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership where he directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) program which trains rabbis across the denominational spectrum to be visionary spiritual leaders with the skills to transform American synagogues. He is also deeply involved in interfaith work with a particular emphasis on co-existence efforts in the Middle East. Sid has also been instrumental in the 2012 launch of the René Cassin Fellowship Program which he now directs. This year-long fellowship program for young professionals, ages 25-35, focuses on Judaism and human rights and has hubs in New York, London and Jerusalem, each with 12 fellows. The program is sponsored by the London based organization, Rene Cassin. The program is funded by the Commission on the Jewish People of the New York UJA Federation.
Rabbi Sid founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years, an organization that is dedicated to inspiring, training and empowering Jewish youth to a life of leadership, activism and service. Dr. Schwarz previously served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington D.C. where he oversaw the public affairs and community relations work for the Jewish community. He is the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD where he continues to teach and lead services. Dr. Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history and is the author of more than 100 articles and three groundbreaking books, Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue (Jewish Lights, 2000), Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights, 2006), and Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (Jewish Lights, 2013).
Rabbi Schwarz on Calling & Chutzpah, an interview that was part of the national “What’s Your Calling?” project
Commenting on the Sid’s latest book, author and communal leader, Dr. Jonathan Woocher wrote:
“As he did in his masterful first book, Finding a Spiritual Home, Rabbi Schwarz opens a window into some of the most creative activity taking place in American Jewish life today. In Judaism and Justice Rabbi Schwarz brings to bear his own decades of experience as both a leader in the Jewish community relations field and a Jewish educator par excellence to demonstrate why a passion for social justice is critical to ensure the very ‘continuity’ that the community so ardently seeks.” Dr. David Gordis, president emeritus of Hebrew College, Boston, wrote: “Judaism and Justice provides a long awaited prophetic vision for the nexus between Jewish tradition and culture and a commitment to social justice”.
“Rabbi Sid Schwarz’ life and career embody a unique mix of religious vision and an ability to implement that vision in the real world.”
In 2002 Sid was awarded the prestigious Covenant Award for his pioneering work in the field of Jewish education. In 2007 Sid was named by Newsweek one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America.
A tribute video made for Rabbi Sid, presented at PANIM’s annual benefit dinner on June 14, 2009