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Haskel and Josh Lookstein: Finding Your Path in a Rabbinic Dynasty



Our Intergenerational Divergence series is sponsored by our friends Sarala and Danny Turkel.

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In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we sit down with an intergenerational rabbinic pair: Rabbi Haskel Lookstein and his son, Rabbi Joshua Lookstein.

Following in the footsteps of a successful parent can involve a crushing degree of pressure. In the Jewish world, perhaps the quintessential case of this is the challenge of being the scion of a prominent rabbinic family (what some might call a “dynasty”). In this episode we discuss:
  • How did family, friends, and congregants react to Joshua leaving the family pulpit?
  • How can children find agency amid family expectations?
  • How do leaders of Jewish institutions manage the most foundational Jewish institution: the family?
Tune in to hear a conversation about how we can grapple wisely with professional divergence across generations.

Interview begins at 12:53.Rabbi Dr. Haskel Lookstein is the Rabbi Emeritus of Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan, where he served most of his entire rabbinic career. He was also the principal of the Ramaz School from 1966 through 2015. R. Lookstein has been highly involved in leadership in the Jewish community for decades. He serves as the Joseph H. Lookstein Professor of Homiletics at Yeshiva University, where he has taught since 1979. He also serves as a Vice President of the Bet Din of America.

Rabbi Joshua Lookstein is the Associate Head of School at the Ramaz School. Rabbi Lookstein previously served as the Head of School at Westchester Day School and a Major Gifts Officer at UJA-Federation of New York, and as Executive Director of the S. Daniel Abraham Foundation. Rabbi Lookstein is responsible for ensuring the values of the school are sustained throughout a student’s education.


The Lookstein Legacy: An American Orthodox Rabbinical Dynasty?” by Adam S. Ferziger

The Shawshank Redemption

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

This episode is sponsored in honor of Robert and Sandy April, loyal congregants and students of Rabbi Lookstein for many years. May they continue to learn from Rabbi Lookstein’s lessons and actions for many years to come.

Transcripts are typically posted the week a podcast drops.