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Rabbi Ari Hart

Rabbi Ari Hart began his rabbinate at Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue on July 1, 2017. 

Rav Ari grew up and lived in Evanston and Chicago. His previous rabbinic work took him everywhere from Yale University Hillel to Rikers Island in New York to the shores of Lesvos, Greece responding to the Syrian refugee crisis. An activist rabbi, Rabbi Hart has led multiple efforts to increase awareness of justice issues in the orthodox community, including advocating for immigrant workers in the kosher industry and fighting for victims of sexual abuse. He previously served as the associate rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, where he focused on community outreach and creating a welcoming environment for all people within an Orthodox synagogue.

As a thought leader, he has contributed to leading secular and religious publications, including the Jerusalem Post, Ha’Aretz, The Hill, Patheos, NY Daily News, The Jewish Daily Forward,and more. Rav Ari was selected by The Jewish Week as one of the 36 "forward-thinking young people who are helping to remake the Jewish community." He is also a founder of Uri L'Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice and co-founder of the Jewish Muslim Volunteer Alliance. Rabbi Hart received smicha (rabbinic ordination) from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York City in 2012.

Since joining Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob last year, Rabbi Hart and the synagogue have already launched several innovative programs and initiatives, such as welcoming 7 different prayer services into the building over the High Holidays, including free, 1 hour afternoon High Holiday Services in English, a partnership with Mothers Against Senseless Killing to combat gun violence in Chicago, an anti-hate vigil in response to Nazi rallies in Charlottesville, that drew over 350 community residents, prayer concerts, and more. During Rabbi Hart's first 12 months, 69 new households joined the synagogue.

The synagogue's president, David Rubin, says of Rabbi Hart, "We are blessed to have Rav Ari as our rabbi. He will be transformative for our community. Fundamentally, his arrival reflects our work over the past few years of revitalizing an inclusive, welcoming, and outward looking community firmly rooted in Jewish observance centered in halakha. This has been the ethos of Skokie Valley since its founding over sixty-five years ago and one which Rav Ari will help us take forward into the future.” 

Mon, August 20 2018 9 Elul 5778