Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a writer, lecturer, and internationally known religious leader. A powerful, thoughtful, and humorous speaker, he talks to both religious and general audiences on Israel and the Middle East, social justice, religious and political leadership, American Religious Life and American Jewish Life. 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 The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz and is quoted frequently in the general and Jewish press.
Rabbi Yoffie completed a 16-year tenure as the leader of America’s largest Jewish organization. Dr. Jonathan Sarna, the dean of American Jewish historians, noted that Rabbi Yoffie, once named by the Forward newspaper as the number one Jewish leader in America, devoted his tenure to bringing “old ideas” to Reform Judaism, “urging its rank and file to focus on enriching their spiritual lives and expanding their knowledge of Judaism…The Yoffie era will go down as an important period in the history of the Reform movement. At a critical junction in Jewish history, he made Reform Judaism more Jewish.”
In the realm of interfaith relations, Rabbi Yoffie holds an astonishing number of “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 Lutheran Church of America. As one newspaper put it, he has been American Jewry’s Daniel, going where others have not gone. He was also the only American religious leader to address the Million Mom March in Washington, D.C., presenting a religious view of the issue of guns and gun control.
Travelling often to Israel and meeting frequently with Israel’s elected leadership, Rabbi Yoffie is an expert on Israel and the Middle East and one of the most frequently quoted American Jewish leader on the subject for the past two decades. Jonathan Tobin of Commentary Magazine wrote that “Rabbi Eric Yoffie may have been, like many Reform Jews, a liberal and a critic of Israel’s nationalist right and its Orthodox religious establishment, but he was also in the tradition of the mid-century leaders Stephen Wise and Abba Hillel Silver—who changed Reform’s orientation from hostility to Zionism toward passionate advocacy.”
In the last several years, primarily in his writings in The Huffington Post, 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.
SAMPLING OF SPEECH TOPICS
Israel and the Middle East
Leadership and Religion
American Jewish Life
American Religious Life