New York, November 13, 2015 – The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) announced today Eric Leiderman, Co-Founder and Director of Institutional Advancement of Masorti on Campus, as winner of its 2015 Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Award. Eric will receive his award on Sunday, November 15 during the General Assembly of Kehillot meeting at the USCJ convention, Shape the Center, in Schaumburg, IL.
Eric’s selection was made by a panel of synagogue, youth and thought leaders. Judy Guzman of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA, who served as a member of the panel said, “Amid a very strong field of candidates, Eric stood out for his extraordinary vision and efforts. True to Mrs. Cardin’s example and the award’s intent, Eric is an inspirational example of the tremendous power that one individual can have to make a difference in Jewish life and the future of the Conservative movement.”
Masorti on Campus was founded in 2013 as a grassroots student organization for Traditional-Egalitarian, Masorti and Conservative Judaism on North American college and university campuses. Prior to its founding, many campuses only offered an overall Jewish experience through Hillel; Masorti provides the opportunity to fill the academic year with Torah learning in a traditional yet Egalitarian environment.
Douglas Kandl, co-founder of Masorti on Campus, who nominated Eric for the award, said, “Since the first Masorti on Campus Shabbaton, in February 2014, several smaller regional Shabbatonim have taken place because of Eric’s work. He has caused countless young adults to become leaders on their own campuses and create communities where students can experience their Judaism religiously without the necessity of surrendering their Egalitarian values.”
Currently a student at Binghamton University studying sociology and religious studies, Eric has a long history of building Jewish campus communities. While a student at the University of Hartford, majoring in Judaic studies, he joined the board and was elected student president of UHart’s Chabad Chevra. During his tenure, Eric helped restructure that organization and substantially grew student participation.
A lifelong Ramahnik, beginning as a camper at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, Eric most recently worked at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires as communications coordinator, international staff liaison, and mashgiach. He is also an alumnus of USCJ’s Nativ: The College Leadership Program in Israel.
Shoshana S. Cardin, one of the most influential Jewish leaders of our time, established her namesake award on the occasion of the USCJ centennial in 2013, to recognize an emerging Jewish leader who is making a difference in strengthening and transforming Jewish life through the lens of Conservative Judaism. It carries a $5,000 stipend and the opportunity to connect with other emerging Jewish leaders from across the continent through USCJ and its network of kehillot and leaders.