By: Rivka Bennun  | 

Rabbi Michael Taubes Appointed Interim Dean of RIETS Following Rabbi Penner's Departure

Rabbi Michael Taubes, current rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB), has assumed the position of interim dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), The Commentator has learned. He began to serve as interim dean in early February and will remain in the position until June. 

Originally approached by Undergraduate Torah Studies (UTS) Dean Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, Rabbi Taubes was appointed interim dean by President Ari Berman and members of the RIETS board, where he has served as a rosh yeshiva, in addition to his position at YUHSB, since 2016. His appointment came following the announcement regarding outgoing RIETS Dean Rabbi Menachem Penner’s departure in December. 

“Rabbi Taubes is a leader in our community and talented administrator,” Rabbi Kalinsky told The Commentator. “We wish him much hatzlacha in his role as interim dean of RIETS as he facilitates the continued growth of our exceptional Yeshiva.” 

Rabbi Taubes will “direct the operation of RIETS,” he told The Commentator, and he “presume[s] that the duties will be similar to those carried out by the previous Deans.” He will also continue to serve in his role as rosh yeshiva of MTA. 

Rabbi Taubes was asked to serve until the end of the academic year in June, but according to Rabbi Kalinsky, it is “to be determined” what will come next. 

Following Rabbi Penner’s departure, sources familiar with the discussion told The Commentator that RIETS would henceforth be governed by a senior committee of roshei yeshiva. With Rabbi Taubes appointed interim dean, it is unclear if this will still take place. When asked about this, Rabbi Kalinsky responded, “We are fortunate to have our beloved Senior Roshei Yeshiva guide our decisions.” 

“I have always believed that like the Mizbeiach [Altar] of old and like the Bimah in our Shuls, it is our Beis Midrash which is — and must be — the centerpiece of our yeshiva,” Rabbi Taubes wrote in a letter to RIETS students on Feb. 16. “As such, I am committed to doing everything I can to make the Beis Midrash as successful and as strong as it can be.”

Rabbi Penner, who is now executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), will continue in some capacity at RIETS, serving the role of dean emeritus. 

“It is with genuine feelings of hakaras ha-tov towards, deeply rooted love for, and a profound sense of responsibility to our great yeshiva that I agreed to accept this role,” Rabbi Taubes shared with The Commentator. “I am committed to helping the yeshiva as best I can.”


Photo Caption: Rabbi Michael Taubes has been appointed interim dean of RIETS. 

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University