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About Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Eric at NFTYRabbi Eric Yoffie is a writer, lecturer, and internationally known religious leader.  A powerful and thoughtful speaker, he talks to both religious and general audiences on Israel and the Middle East, interfaith relations, 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 PostThe 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.

SPEAKING TOPICS

Rabbi Eric Yoffie speaks on a number of topics. If you do not see the topic you are considering, please fill out the Contact Form and Rabbi Yoffie will be in touch with you.

Interfaith Relations

  • Why interfaith relations don’t work—and what we can do about it
  • When people of faith discuss Israel: The problems and possibilities of dealing with Israel in interfaith dialogue
  • Divisions on divestment: Jews and Protestants struggle over Israel
  • The complexities of dialogue and doing: Jews and Catholics, Jews and Protestants, Jews and Evangelicals
Israel and the Middle East
  • How to talk about Israel on campus: Making the case for Israel, two states, and the possibility of peace
  • How Israel deals with danger: the threat of Iran, the Syrian civil war, and the Arab Spring
  • Revolution in the making: The changing face of religion and religious freedom in the Jewish State
  • There is no Judaism without Israel: Understanding the role of Israel in Jewish life
  • Getting it right: how Americans and Israelis and American Jews and Israeli Jews can finally understand each other

Leadership and Religion

  • Righteousness vs. Self-righteousness: Examining political and religious leadership
  • Leadership matters: Principles of leadership for political, business, and organizational leaders
  • Approaches to leadership for people of faith

American Jewish Life

  • The bizarre story of American Jews: demographically complicated, religiously diverse, stronger than ever and still at risk
  • The American Jewish Revolution:  Making the case for a Jewish Golden Age
  • Liberal Judaism in America: The distinct beliefs, commitments, and challenges of American Jewry’s largest religious group
  • Social justice and American Jews: Are Jews still passionate about social justice and can it sustain them?
American Religious Life

  • What it means to be a liberal person of faith
  • Religion is divisive and conservative—and a very good thing
  • Spirituality is fine—but religion is better