by the Forward

Dan Horwitz

The Well | Detroit, Michigan | 32 years old
Renewal | Mesifta Adath Wolkowisk Rabbinical Academy

Rabbi Dan solves problems before others realize they exist. While the rest of the Jewish community was organizing bar nights and singles events to fill a void in the social lives of young pluralistic and secular Jews, Rabbi Dan worried that there was a spiritual void in the lives of this demographic that community leaders had not considered. Jumping into this space, he founded The Well, a pluralistic organization that engages with modern issues of significance through classic Jewish thought while leaving wide space for participants to adopt their own interpretations. Rabbi Dan and The Well hosted Syrian refugees to speak about their experiences at the local Holocaust museum; organized a study of the Flint water crisis through an examination of how classical Jewish texts have dealt with water; and brought 500 young adults and families to the Detroit River to cast their metaphorical sins into the water during tashlich as they considered their collective sins, which led to the struggles of the city of Detroit. Through The Well, Rabbi Dan challenges the convention that young, modern Jews can live fulfilling Jewish lives while ignoring the thirst for a deeper spiritual connection to their faiths, however they chose to interpret it.

— Daniel Devries

+ 7 other nominations

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