Rabbi Eric Yoffie's Bio
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie is the President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the congregational arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in North America, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues across the United States and Canada. He is currently a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz and writes regularly for the Huffington Post and The Jerusalem Post.
Installed as president of the URJ in June 1996, Rabbi Yoffie led the Reform Movement in exciting new directions, moving congregational life toward greater attention to Torah study and adult literacy. He spearheaded a major expansion of the URJ’s summer camping program. In 2005 he introduced the Sacred Choices curriculum to teach sexual ethics to teens in camps and congregations.
Rabbi Yoffie has been a pioneer in interfaith relations and launched Movement-wide dialogue programs with both Christians and Muslims. In 2005, he was the first Jew to address the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. In 2006, at the invitation of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, he was the first Rabbi to address a convocation of students and faculty at Liberty University. In 2007, Rabbi Yoffie was the first leader of a major Jewish organization to speak at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America.
Rabbi Yoffie has also been deeply involved in issues of social justice and community concern. In his writings in recent years in The Huffington Post and elsewhere, 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, health care, and gun control.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie is an expert on Modern Israel. In Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, and many other publications, he has written on issues of peace and security in Israel and on the relations between Israel and America and between Israel 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, which is the primary advocacy group for religious pluralism in the Jewish State. For 30 years he has met regularly with Israel’s top leaders.
Raised in Worcester, MA, Rabbi Yoffie was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1974, and served congregations in Lynbrook, NY, and Durham, NC, before joining the URJ in 1980. He holds an honorary degree from Assumption College in Worcester, MA, where he delivered a groundbreaking address on Catholic-Jewish relations.
Rabbi Yoffie’s posts, articles and videos on a wide-range of subjects may be found at: http://ericyoffie.com