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Jason Klein

(1975 - )

Jason Klein is an American Jewish rabbi and the first openly gay rabbi to lead a national rabbinic association.

Klein grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, graduating high school in 1993 before matriculating to Columbia University where he wrote a thesis on the experience of Ukrainian-American Christians. He graduated from Columbia in 1997 and continued his studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and at Beit Midrash Elul in Jerusalem, Israel.

In 2002, Klein was ordained as a rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Council and spent four year serving as a congregational rabbi for Congregation Beth Emeth on Long Island, New York.

In 2006, Klein was brought in as director of the Hillel at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

In March 2013, Klein was elected as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, thus becoming the first openly gay man to head a national rabbinical association of any demonination in the United States. He is also the first Hillel director to have assumed this role.

"Coming out and growing into my adult Jewish identity would not be the same were it not for affirming teachers, rabbis and other mentors along the way,” Klein said after his election. “I am honored to be able to give back by supporting colleagues who are creating welcoming communities in hundreds of settings across North America and beyond.”

Sources: JTA; Forward; Wikipedia; UMBC Hillel