Rabbi Robert Wexler
Colen Distinguished Lecturer in Bible
Dr. Robert D. Wexler has served as president of American Jewish University (formerly University of Judaism and Brandeis-Bardin Institute) since 1992. He received his B.A. in Sociology from UCLA in 1971 and was ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he also earned a Master of Arts degree in Hebrew Literature. While enrolled in rabbinical school, Dr. Wexler also earned his M.B.A. degree from Baruch College in New York City with a specialization in accounting. Following his ordination in 1977, he spent a year on the faculty of Princeton University teaching in the Department of Middle East Studies.
Returning to Los Angeles in 1978, Dr. Wexler joined the staff of American Jewish University (AJU), where he occupied a variety of administrative positions before becoming president. He earned both a Master of Arts degree and a Ph.D. from UCLA in the Department of Near Eastern Languages. His doctoral dissertation dealt with concepts of death and immortality in the ancient near east.
Rabbi Jay A. Strear
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer
As Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer at American Jewish University since 1995, Rabbi Jay Strear manages a department in which the interest of the donors and the needs of the institution are brought together to culminate in significant support to the university. Rabbi Strear's efforts have resulted in the university's ability to offer financial aid to 87% of AJU's student population. As a certified planned giving specialist, his responsibilities include working with donors to make strategic estate planning investments. Rabbi Strear teaches Business Ethics in the university's MBA program.
He completed his undergraduate studies at University of Colorado, Boulder, earned his MBA in Nonprofit Management at University of Judaism (now AJU), and was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2000. Prior to his development positions at AJU, he worked as a congregational rabbi in Detroit.
Vice President, Finance, Administration and Technology
Interim Director of Student Affairs
Zofia Yalovsky earned her B.A. in Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University and acquired her education and experience in information technology in the Israeli Air Force. Ms. Yalovsky also earned her MBA in Nonprofit Management from University of Judaism (now AJU).
When she moved to the United States in 1991, she had more than two decades of experience in senior management, particularly in areas of finance, business HR, administration and technology.
Ms. Yalovsky has been involved with AJU since 1992. In 1997 she accepted the position of Director of Business and Administration, advanced to Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and finally became VP Finance, Administration and Technology, responsible for the university's finance affairs, internal controls and compliance, administration and campus technology.
Ms. Yalovsky teaches from time to time Management, International Business and Leadership in the undergraduate program and Human Resources to MBA students and serves as an advisor to undergraduate students majoring in Business . She mentors MBA students in their internships and assists with their thesis.
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair, Ziegler School
Rabbi Artson graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1981 with a B.A. in History and Literature. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Jewish Studies in 1988, and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters in 2010 from Hebrew Union College, Magnin School of Graduate Studies.
Following ordination in 1988, Rabbi Artson led a congregation in Mission Viejo, which he helped grow from 200 to 600 family units. In 1998 he moved to L.A. as the Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.
In 1999, a year after the Ziegler School was established as an ordaining seminary, the founding dean made aliyah. AJU President Robert Wexler invited Rabbi Artson to breakfast to offer him the position of Dean of the Rabbinical School. The proposition was irresistible, and has allowed Rabbi Artson to serve as one of the leaders of Conservative Judaism, and to show his love for rabbis and rabbinical students.
Artson is the author of seven books. His most recent is The Gift of Soul: Spiritual Resources for Leadership & Mentoring.
Rabbi Gary Ezra Oren
Dean, Whizin Center for Continuing Education
Rabbi Gary Oren joined American Jewish University as Vice President and Dean of the Whizin Center for Continuing Education in summer of 2013. Rabbi Oren is an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton where he completed his undergraduate degree, and Tel Aviv University where he studied towards an M.A. of Middle Eastern Studies. In 2008 he received his rabbinical ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Rabbi Oren brings a wealth of knowledge to AJU including over 5 years experience as the Rabbi of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, California.
Vice President, Facilities & Auxiliary Services
Sam Levitt joined American Jewish University in January 2009 to oversee operations & auxiliary services. He earned his B.A. in Judaic Studies at University of California, San Diego, with minors in Law & Society and Biology. He earned his MBA in Nonprofit Management from American Jewish University in 2007, receiving the David Lieber School of Graduate Studies Professional Leadership Award. His MBA Capstone was titled “Mergers in the Nonprofit World: Their Impact on the Organizations Involved and the Communities They Serve.”
As Vice President of Facilities & Auxiliary Services at American Jewish University, Sam is responsible for the daily operational aspects of the University at both the Familian and Brandeis-Bardin Campuses. In addition, he oversees the conference, catering and other auxiliary units throughout the Institution.
Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Dean, Undergraduate Admissions
Dr. Joanna Gerber joined AJU in 2014 as the Vice President of Communications & Marketing. Joanna holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from University of California at Los Angeles, where she completed research on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), educational disruption and pedagogical innovation. She previously attended Whittier College, and received both her B.A. and M.A. in Organizational Management from Antioch University. Joanna is also a 2011 graduate of the Harvard Management Development Program.
As Vice President of Communications & Marketing, Joanna is responsible for the university marketing, communications, branding, social/new media, public relations and university websites. As Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, she oversees recruitment and enrollment management for the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Office of Financial Aid.