Longtime Leader Leaving Pittsburgh Kollel

Longtime Leader Leaving Pittsburgh Kollel

Rabbi Aaron Kagan
Rabbi Aaron Kagan

After 16 years at the helm of the Kollel Jewish Learning Center, Rabbi Aaron Kagan has announced his resignation. Effective this summer, Kagan will leave the institution his late father, Rabbi Shaul Kagan, founded 36 years prior.

“I felt as though I’d taken the Kollel as far as it could go strategically,” Kagan explained.

Kagan began at the Kollel shortly after his father’s passing. In the years that followed, the rabbi transformed the institution into a center for men’s and women’s classes, public lectures, advanced Talmudic studies and outreach programs.

Dr. Abby Mendelson, president of the Kollel, explained that through Kagan’s work, the Kollel now provides 26,000 person-hours of Torah learning each year.

In a letter to his board of directors, Kagan wrote, “After much deliberation, and many soul-searching discussions with my family, I have begun looking for a new position out of town.”

Kagan made the decision after the organization’s dinner last month, saying that he was ready for the next challenge.

“After analyzing our revenue streams, it is clear to me that the Kollel will remain viable without my presence,” he said.

To facilitate his leave, Kagan appointed a transition team of Mendelson, immediate past presidents Philip Milch, Dr. Robert Lebovits and Chuck Perlow and current treasurer Aron Pfeffer.

“We have a good team in place,” said Kagan, who added that much of the team’s work will occur after the Pesach holiday.

Along with the transition team, Rabbi Levi Langer, the institution’s dean, will work to ensure continuity.

Kagan realizes that his departure will prompt change, but he is optimistic about the institution’s future.

“There will be adjustments to be made,” he said, “but I’m leaving the institution healthy and viable, and they can go forward.”

Mendelson noted: “[Kagan] is a true builder. He will be succeeded, but he can never be replaced.”

(Adam Reinherz can be reached at adamr@thejewishchronicle.)

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