The modern Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School (YCT) has announced that Founder and President Rav Avi Weiss will be handing over its presidency to Rabbi Asher Lopatin, a former Rhodes Scholar and the spiritual leader of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago.
“It moves YCT out of its founding stage into the realm of institutional viability,” Weiss said in a statement.
Known for an innovative and sometimes controversial (by Orthodox standards) approach, YCT has become a leader in modern Orthodox rabbinic education under the guidance of Weiss, who was named by Newsweek as one of America’s 50 most influential rabbis. “Rav Weiss built YCT into an educational institution that has taught students to question, to crave new understandings, and to embrace all kinds Jews and non-Jews alike,” said Steven Lieberman, chairman of the board at YCT.
However, the Rabbinic Council of America (RCA) and other Orthodox groups have been critical of YCT, and the RCA does not accept the school’s ordination.
The development and implementation of the succession plan was a component of a 2011 $3 million grant that YCT received from the Jim Joseph Foundation, according to a YCT press release.
Lopatin is slated to take over full-time in July 2013.