By: Chaim Book  | 

Dr. Erica Brown Named Vice Provost of Values and Leadership, Inaugural Director of Sacks Center

YU announced the appointment of Dr. Erica Brown as vice provost of values and leadership and inaugural director of the Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Center for Values and Leadership on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Brown will assume these positions on Jan. 1, 2022. 

Brown’s appointment marks a significant step towards the development of the center. YU announced the creation of the Sacks-Herenstein Center on Oct. 27, founded by philanthropists Terri and Andrew Herenstein and dedicated to the dissemination of Rabbi Sacks’ leadership lessons and values. 

Brown’s responsibilities will include working directly with the students in the center’s leadership development program and externally on public programming, which includes designing the curricula for the center. As vice provost and director, she will interact directly with students in the program by teaching and mentoring. She will also share her experience and insight with future Jewish educators as an associate professor teaching at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. 

Aside from her work directly within YU, Brown plans on developing robust public programming. In her new positions, she will be running conferences, seminars and conducting interviews, along with cultivating a strong social media platform; 

“While it is early days to discuss specific goals, our general vision is to provide leadership development to undergraduate and graduate students, rabbinic students, communal leaders and educators through a series of academic, educational, communal and literary initiatives,” Brown told The Commentator. “We hope to do this work in the spirit of Rabbi Sacks' teachings and YU's core Torah values.”

Brown’s qualifications for this position include her years of working experience in communal leadership. A 1988 alumna of Stern College for Women (SCW), she most recently served as director of the  Mayberg  Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at George Washington University. She has previously served as the scholar-in-residence of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, in addition to being the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York. Currently, she serves as a community scholar for Congregation Etz  Chaim in Livingston, NJ. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Erica Brown to our stellar leadership team as a key partner in advancing Yeshiva University forward into its next great era,” President Ari Berman said in YU’s press release. “As a celebrated alumna of our institution, devoted student of Rabbi Sacks, and an internationally renowned educator, author, speaker and scholar, Dr. Brown both exemplifies our core values and lives our mission of educating the leaders of tomorrow.”

Brown is renowned for her work on education, chosen as a Jerusalem Fellow, an Avi Chai Fellow, and awarded the 2009 Covenant Award for her educational ideas. Brown is currently co-authoring a teen leadership manual.  

"I cannot wait to be on campus and meet students and learn from them how this new center can service their needs and interests. So please introduce yourselves,” Brown said. “It is an immense and humbling privilege to join the faculty of Yeshiva, and I do not take it for granted.”

Photo Caption: Brown will begin her post in January 2022.

Photo Credit: Dr. Erica Brown