RABBI ANDY KOREN
Rabbi Andy Koren came to Greensboro in 2003 with his wife Michal and their children Avishai and Shiri. He served as Temple Emanuel’s first full-time Assistant Rabbi, and later was named the congregation’s Associate Rabbi. From 2003-2021, he was also Temple’s Director of Religious Education. Rabbi Koren is the 14th Senior Rabbi in the Temple's celebrated history.
During his first 18 years with Temple Emanuel, Rabbi Koren led many of the programs which impacted a generation of our community’s youth, including a highly successful high school track where upwards of 80% of B’nai Mitzvah continue their involvement through the end of 12th grade. He has presented on this issue at URJ Biennials and is regularly consulted by congregations looking to retain meaningful teen involvement through the end of high school. He served on the Rabbinic faculty at URJ camps (Camp Coleman from 2004-2009 and 6 Points Sports Academy from 2010-2015) and is currently on the 6 Points Sports Camp Committee. He is an advocate for Jewish camping and the need for increased communal funding to get more of our youth to Jewish non-profit overnight camps as a way to keep our youth connected to their Jewish heritage.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he developed an annual work/mitzvah trip to New Orleans for high school juniors and seniors. The six trips he led to New Orleans resulted in thousands of hours of service-learning for more than 125 teen volunteers, including projects such as house construction, environmental restoration, and providing meals for the hungry. This program received the Fain Award in 2011 from the Reform movement’s Commissions on Social Action.
Rabbi Koren has led numerous trips to Washington, DC over the years. He has traveled with dozens of teens to the Religious Action Center’s annual L’Taken Social Justice Seminar, bringing them to our nation’s capital to learn about public policy issues, Jewish values, and the importance of advocacy. He has been an AIPAC activist since the mid-1980s and has introduced our high school teens to Israel advocacy through AIPAC programs such as the High School Summit and the annual AIPAC Policy Conference.
Over the years, Rabbi Koren has maintained a strong connection with Israel, leading a congregational trip to Israel in February 2016. He also participated in the 2018 Greensboro Clergy Trip as well as the Greensboro Interfaith Study Mission to Israel. His two children are alumni of the URJ’s EIE semester High School in Israel program.
Rabbi Koren has lent his voice to some of the most critical social justice and civil rights concerns of our times. He marched in the NCAAP’s Journey for Justice in the summer of 2015. He has also been the Co-chair of the Greensboro Faith Leaders’ Council (2014-present), convening monthly gatherings of leaders from across the religious spectrum to work on key issues facing our city, region, and state.
In December of 2015, he teamed up with the Islamic Center of Greensboro and NCCJ of the Triad for an evening of dialogue with Jewish and Muslim teens. This gathering took place at a critical time in our country as anti-Muslim sentiments were increasingly becoming part of the Presidential campaign.
For many years, Rabbi Koren has volunteered with the Children’s Home Society (CHS), a state-wide organization that facilitates foster care placement as well as adoptions, and offers numerous programs to strengthen families. He is currently a member of CHS’s Board of Trustees and participates in the organization’s Greensboro Community Leadership Council.
Rabbi Koren has taught in numerous settings in Greensboro. He has been an instructor at the B’nai Shalom Day School, as well as at the former American Hebrew Academy. For five years, he directed and taught classes for Greensboro’s Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. He has taught many year-long Introduction to Judaism classes and was an instructor in the statewide North Carolina Beit Midrash which was organized by Reform clergy and conducted online during the fall and winter of 2020-21. Rabbi Koren has also taught Temple’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah Program and has blessed over 5 dozen adult learners as they have reached this important milestone in their Jewish journeys.
Rabbi Koren is a native of North Miami, Florida, a graduate of Tufts University (1988), and was ordained from HUC’s Cincinnati campus in 1993. While at HUC, he was a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. He spent his first 10 years as a Rabbi working with college students, serving as the Director of North Carolina Hillel from 1993 to 1995 and as the Rabbi for the Hillel Foundation at the University of Florida from 1998 to 2003. From 1995 through 1998, he served as Program Associate for the Wexner Foundation in Columbus, OH concentrating on Jewish leadership development as well as recruitment for the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program and the fields of Jewish professional service.
Contact him at AKoren@tegreensboro.org