Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President Emeritus of the Reform Movement, Reflects on Pandemic and Relations with Israel

This week, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, in the third of a series of conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Jewish life. Rabbi Yoffie discusses the pandemic's effect on the Reform movement, and talks about the relationships between liberal American Jews and the State of Israel.

 

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About the Guest

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a writer, lecturer, internationally-known religious leader and President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism.  He has presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and many other news outlets. He writes regularly for TimeThe Huffington PostThe Jerusalem Post and the Israeli daily Haaretz and is quoted frequently in the general and Jewish press.

A bold, compelling, and inspiring speaker, Rabbi Yoffie lectures at universities and congregations on Israel and the Middle East, interfaith relations, social justice, American Religious Life and American Jewish Life.

In his writings, Rabbi Yoffie has addressed matters of belief and spirituality as they impact Americans of all faiths and of no faith. He has been an articulate advocate for a modern and thoughtful approach to American religious life. He has applied his progressive religious point of view, rooted in Biblical text and religious teaching, to issues of sin, atheism, and community as well as contemporary matters such as immigration and healthcare.

Rabbi Yoffie has devoted much of his career to promoting understanding among religious groups. An expert in interfaith relations, he is known for his many “firsts.”  He was the first rabbi to address the students and faculty of the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University; the first major Jewish leader to speak at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America; and the first Jew ever to address the Church-wide Assembly of the Evangelical Church of America. He holds an honorary degree from Assumption College in Worcester, MA, where he delivered a groundbreaking address on Catholic-Jewish relations.

Rabbi Yoffie also has been deeply involved in issues of social justice. A prominent spokesperson for sensible gun control, he was the only religious leader to speak at the Million Mom March in Washington, DC.

Rabbi Yoffie is an expert on Modern Israel, and has written widely on issues of peace and security in Israel and on relations between Israel and America and between Israelis and American Jews.  He has been a major force in formulating American Jewish attitudes on issues of religious freedom and was instrumental in the founding of the Israel Religious Action Center, the primary advocacy group for religious pluralism in the Jewish State. For 30 years he has met regularly with Israel’s top leaders.

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