Rabbi Michael Harvey served Reform congregations from 2015 until 2020, in both West Lafayette, Indiana and The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He currently studies at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, within the Doctor of Science in Jewish Studies program and he hopes to earn his PhD in Jewish Studies.
Ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2015, Rabbi Harvey earned a Master’s degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University. Throughout his tenure at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Harvey served congregations, small and large, in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.
Rabbi Harvey is a certified Prepare & Enrich marital and pre-marital counselor and has served as a chaplain at both Norton Hospital and Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. He is committed to interfaith education and social justice, locally and nationally. His dedication to both these areas can be seen in the work he has done with world-renowned organizations such as the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, the American Jewish World Service, the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, and the Chautauqua Institution. Additionally, Rabbi Harvey was invited by Dr. Rabbi Gary Zola to become a member of the rabbinic advisory council for the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, called “The B’nai Ya’akov Council.”
Wherever Rabbi Harvey has served, he has always sought ways to marry his passion for social justice with the needs of his immediate community. In the absence of an interfaith council in his previous posting in St. Thomas, Rabbi Harvey created and directed the Interfaith Council of the Caribbean, which represented over 15 faith communities in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Additionally, he sat on the boards of the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, The Family Resource Center, and The United Way.
In West Lafayette, he brought his attention to the needs of the community, and served as the director for the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette, which was integral in bringing interfaith panel discussions to the community on topics as important as nativism, mental health, and addiction. Rabbi Harvey also sat on the executive board for the Indiana Board of Rabbis which provides educational and pastoral needs to the entire state. Additionally, he sat on the boards of the Lafayette Jewish Community Religious School, the Jewish Federation of Greater Lafayette, Family Promise of Greater Lafayette and the local United Way Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. Rabbi Harvey was also a member of the Downtown Ministers, the Lafayette Transitional Housing Caring Committee, the Tippecanoe County Opioid Task Force, and the Medical Ethics Committee for IU Health Arnett Hospital. Rabbi Harvey regularly works with Legal Aid, Lafayette Urban Ministry, Greater Lafayette Indivisible, Mom’s Demand Action, and the YWCA to better the Greater Lafayette community.
Rabbi Harvey is the author of many articles featured in both local and international sources, such as The Jewish Daily Forward and ReformJudaism.org. He is the recipient of several awards, including the HUC-JIR Robert L. Adler Prize, awarded for contributions to the community, and the “Faith, Family, Friends, Bridging our Community Award” given by US Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress, Stacey Plaskett.
Additionally, Rabbi Harvey created and participated (before COVID-19) in a bi-monthly podcast with a local Episcopal Priest, entitled: “A Priest and a Rabbi Walk into a Bar” which discusses religious issues and interfaith subjects.