By: Hannah Pollak  | 

Rabbi Ari Rockoff Appointed as David Mitzner Community Dean for Values and Leadership

Rabbi Ari Rockoff (SSSB ‘97, RIETS and Azrieli ‘01) was appointed the first David Mitzner Community Dean for Values and Leadership this November. 

Rockoff was contacted by the university in its search for a candidate and will work with undergraduate and graduate students in leadership programs, oversee existing and future educational and Jewish projects within YU and the wider Jewish community and advance YU’s values campaign.

The Office of Values and Leadership, according to its website, aims to “serve[s] the entire University, our alumni, and the broader Jewish community promoting Yeshiva University's Five Torot, its core values and the writings of Rabbi Sacks.” 

Since Rockoff’s appointment in November, he has been taking a “listening and learning tour” to explore more opportunities for students to be involved in communal projects, he told The Commentator. He said he plans to continue the tour during the spring. 

The position itself was created by YU President Ari Berman; Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Erica Brown, vice provost for values and leadership and director of the Sacks-Herenstein Center, Rockoff told The Commentator. 

Rockoff worked at YU between 2000 and 2014, beginning as a coordinator at the Max Stern Division of Communal Services, then as director of the Department of Community Partnership at the Center for the Jewish Future, before being promoted to associate dean of institutional advancement at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Since 2014, Rockoff has served as executive vice president of the Mizrachi Zionists of America (RZA) and as a senior director of leadership development and strategic partnerships of the Orthodox Union. 

Rockoff will be working with both graduate and undergraduate students.

“Rabbi Rockoff will be working with RIETS,” said Brown, “and also … our Leadership Scholars, our Sacks Scholars in Ethics and Entrepreneurship, and our leadership development initiatives with the Office of Student Life.” 

Rockoff will also manage pre-existing communal-based projects such as YU Torah, Torah to Go, Kollel Yom Rishon, the Orthodox Forum and the Community Beit Midrash. These initiatives, along with future ones that he will implement, are part of his job’s mission to strengthen and develop the university’s current value campaign. 

Rockoff told The Commentator that he was honored to work again at YU.

“I feel extremely honored to be back at YU and to work so closely once again with the student body in this capacity!” Rockoff said.

Students were pleased with Rockoff’s appointment.

“I’m excited for Rabbi Rockoff to join the Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership and for him to continue to help guide and teach our Torah values through the lens of leadership,” said Yael Sabo (SCW ‘24), a Sacks-Herenstein Leadership scholar.

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Photo Caption: Rabbi Ari Rockoff was appointed the David Mitzner Community Dean of Values and Leadership this November.

Photo Credit: Rabbi Ari Rockoff