Neal Gold teaches and writes about Jewish texts, Israel, and intersections between Jewish life and the contemporary world. He is also a student, pursuing graduate work in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.
He has served as the national Director of Program & Content for ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, where he continues to work on Special Projects. For over 18 years he served congregations in New Jersey and Massachusetts. He received smicha from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997 and graduated Colgate University with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. In 2016, he became the first in-house scholar-in-residence for Jewish Family Service of Metrowest.
Neal has served on the national board of ARZA and was a delegate for ARZENU, the international Reform Jewish movement, at the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in October 2016. He is a founding member of the President’s Council of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and currently serves as Vice-President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.
For years he worked in Israel with the Ziv Tzedakah Fund and noted educator and writer Danny Siegel, teaching thousands of teenagers about creative and offbeat ways in which people do the work of World-Repair. He has also been involved with creating meaningful interfaith projects, especially Jewish-Muslim dialogue. He is a founding board member of the Kavod Tzedakah Collective.
Neal is a prolific writer, teacher, counselor, and social activist, who loves how the beauty and power of Jewish texts and traditions unite communities, inform Jewish souls, and transform the world. Some of his recent writings have appeared in Fragile Dialogue: New Voices in Liberal Zionism, Navigating the Journey: A Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle, and A Life of Meaning (all forthcoming in 2017 and 2018), and The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic (2012), as well as regular writings on Israel in the weekly Torah portion for ARZA. He is a perpetual teacher of Torah texts and Jewish tradition to adults, teenagers, and kids. He especially loves Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, early Chasidic spirituality, the roots of Zionism, and points of connection and departure between spiritual traditions of different faith traditions. He has also led a wide variety of off-the-beaten path, adventurous trips to Israel for adults, teens, and families.
Some of the adult education courses Neal has taught in recent years include: “Crossing the Street: Jews and Muslims in Conversation,” “The Old, Weird Bible,” “Classic Yiddish Stories,” “Big Ideas: The Beliefs of Judaism,” “The Joseph Narrative: The Hidden Novella in the Torah,” “Sages & Dreamers: The Lives of the Sages of the Talmud,” “Reading Maimonides,” “Finding My Personal God,” “Money, Sex & Power in Jewish Texts,” and “Biblical & Jewish Themes in the Lyrics of Bob Dylan.” He has served on the faculty of the URJ Adult Summer Learning Institute (Kallah) and NFTY’s Leadership Summits.
He is married to Heidi Gold and they have two sons, Avi and Jeremy. Neal enjoys fishing, writing, playing bass guitar, yoga, and highly amplified music.