Board of Directors Rabbi Jeffrey A. Summit - Jchoice.org
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Summit is the Executive Director of the Hillel Foundation at Tufts University, where he also serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Music. He also holds appointments as Lecturer in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures and as the University's Jewish Chaplain.He holds rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and a Ph.D. from Tufts University where he studied ethnomusicology in Tufts interdisciplinary doctoral program.
He is the author of The Lord's Song in a Strange Land: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship (Oxford University Press, 2000) and together with photojournalist Richard Sobol, is co-author of Abayudaya: The Jews of Uganda (Abbeville Press, 2002). Rabbi Summit has also recorded, compiled and annotated a CD for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings entitled Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda. This CD was nominated for a Grammy Award for best album in the category of Traditional World Music. Rabbi Summit recently produced a campus resource guide for International Hillel entitled Cabaret at the Edge of the World: Performing in the Shadow of the Holocaust. Rabbi Summit has been invited to lecture at congregations around the country and at many universities. He has recently been invited to speak at Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Chicago.
Rabbi Summit has a special interest in the field of oral history and for four summers has conducted an oral history project the with the Jewish community of Annecy, France, for American students, under the auspices of Tufts European Center. For three additional summers he has taught a seminar at the Tufts European Center on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in France. He is currently co-directing a project funded by the Department of Homeland Security establishing Muslim/Jewish/Christian dialogues and inter-religious education on five university campuses. An accomplished musician, he has performed Jewish and traditional American music throughout the United States, as well as in England and Israel. During the Yom Kippur War, he performed for Israeli soldiers in the Sinai and Golan Heights. His songs examining those experiences were recorded on his record album Shepherd of the Highways.
Rabbi Summit was awarded B'nai B'rith's Jacob Burns Prize for the Promotion of Ethics on Campus and has been named an Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. He has also received the Benjamin J. Shevach Memorial Award for distinguished achievement in Jewish educational leadership, Hebrew College's highest academic award.The programs he has initiated at Tufts examining ethical perspectives on the role of the university, sexual ethics and the parent/child relationship have received national grants and awards. As a graduate student, he received both the James T. Koetting Memorial Prize for the outstanding graduate student paper presented at the annual meeting of the Northeast Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology and the Society for Ethnomusicology's Jaap Kunst Prize for the outstanding paper published by a student in the Journal of Ethnomusicology. His book on Jewish music and identity was awarded the Musher Publication Prize by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Rabbi Summit is past-president of the National Hillel Professional Association.