Rabbi Yoffie’s teachings addressed our world’s polarization and yet at the same time transcended the polarization. Finding truth from the right and from the left, and facing the toughest truths head on, he brilliantly brought our Reform Jewish values to every perspective. Mostly serious, but often humorous, he transformed our congregants with his education and with his uplifting perspectives. Congregants from multiple worldviews, age demographics, and background levels were grateful to learn with him.
Our congregation was blessed to have Rabbi Yoffie speak on our recent Israel Shabbat, and he was terrific! His voice and his vision are stronger and clearer than ever. His message that our love of Israel should be unconditional, but not uncritical, was timely, important and well received. We need to remember that Reform Judaism has a critical role to play in fulfilling the vision of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state, and no one does this better than Rabbi Yoffie.
Wherever Rabbi Yoffie is, he is really there. He prepares for the moment through probing questions, rigorous experience and honest listening. This makes his words ring with a clarity of relevance and import. Rabbi Yoffie doesn’t just speak about issues, he lives them and defines them. His first hand experience motivates others to action.
Rabbi Yoffie came to mark 20 years of service. In his afterglow, the whole demeanor of the congregation is elevated. The congregants have a greater sense of purpose and are much more appreciative.
Rabbi Yoffie ignited our audience with his passion and breadth of experience in inter-religious dialogue. Rabbi Yoffie’s interaction with students in the classroom, and the broader community in the evening lecture inspired lively interaction across all age groups. His is the kind of engaging, prophetic voice that we need to hear more of in the public square.
The Tidewater Jewish community responded to Yoffie’s six unique presentations with curiosity, admiration, extended conversations, and some debate, all of which are goals of the ambitious program [Tidewater Together], and which satisfied Yoffie’s desire for energetic—and civil—discussions.
Many long-time lay leaders were impressed at the breadth of Yoffie’s knowledge and the depth of the conversations.
He was one of the best speakers we’ve ever heard. He was outstanding.
After Rabbi Yoffie’s lecture I received an unprecedented request that coffee be made available so that the conversation he generated might continue beyond the already vigorous question period. Rabbi Yoffie’s informed call for talk between Jews and Catholics about the Holocaust, theology, and Israel was forcefully articulated and provocative in positive terms. I would certainly want him to come again, only next time with coffee after.
With hope, humor, and wisdom Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a gifted scholar in residence. Speaking on the “State of Reform Judaism Today” and “Liberal Zionism” our community was enriched by his vast experiences and his gift of story telling. What a blessing it was to have Rabbi Yoffie in our community.
“Honest,” “Respectful,” and “Engaging” are words used by our Catholic, Jewish and general audience for Rabbi Yoffie’s presentation at Walsh University (a Catholic university). Rabbi Yoffie spoke glowingly of the accomplishments of Vatican II and honestly about the new anti-Semitism and about the significance of Israel to Jews today. He was a positive, provocative and an enlightening presence in our community.
A million thank yous for the wonderful evening! Everyone was engaged by your powerful, well reasoned remarks. You helped to ensure that we continue to promote balanced, civilized discussions of the issues that matter most. And you did it with you characteristic depth, warmth and grace. Thank you!
I am stunned and delighted. Eric Yoffie’s presentation at our Shabbat service was a masterpiece. He was charming and crowd-pleasing, insightful and fresh. I most highly recommend that you invite him to speak about “The Evolution of the American Reform Synagogue.” He shined an entirely new light a topic so dear to all of us; we will never look at our own temple the same way. Most amazing, though, was the ending. He turned his lecture into a sermon, and sent us off with a message of comfort, hope and inspiration. It was brilliant. I wish I could bottle it up and sprinkle bits of it every Shabbat for the rest of the year.
Central to the foundation of Elmhurst College is its religious and intellectual life. The Abraham Joshua Heschel Lecture sits squarely in that intersection, where rigorous intellectual discourse, contemporary issues, and deep faith exist together to help foster a community of mutual learners and scholars. This year the college hosted Rabbi Eric Yoffie who delivered a commanding and clear lecture focusing on a framework of our deep longings for leadership, values and the search for God. Using this framework with the demands in our global society to address interfaith dialogue, its challenges and its potential, Rabbi Yoffie offered a clear critique of many of the pitfalls of dialogue, and also some practical aspects that could enhance our common work and life together.
Fundamental to his address was a strong analysis of the critical places in which our communities of faith have differed, and have found critical common ground. He presented a working set of questions and points that can be used to help local universities address the role of interreligious and interfaith discourse for the common good. The Heschel Lecture, at its best, lifts up distinguished scholars who move our campus community to reflect more deeply on life through the depths of Jewish thought and history. Rabbi Yoffie was superb on this and was a delight to host. We look forward to his return in future years and would wholeheartedly commend him to others in university and religious settings.
At Shabbat services, Rabbi Yoffie offered an upbeat, positive description about the future of liberal Judaism in America. Earlier in the day he engaged a room full of interfaith clergy and faith leaders in a conversation about Israel. Prepared, open, thoughtful as always in his words and conversation. Thank you for coming back to Canton.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie spoke to our Board of Trustees and lectured to our community. Both presentations were incredibly well received! With our Board, Rabbi Yoffie discussed the history and future of the synagogue as a uniquely American institution and framed his remarks in a way that validated, challenged and enthused our Board for the work in which we are engaged, namely taking up a new capital/endowment campaign. And in his endowed lecture, Rabbi Yoffie provided a facinating and engaging analysis on the “Changing Face of Religion in Israel.” I was grateful for the time Rabbi Yoffie shared with me in advance of his visit to understand his audiences and to prepare for his talks. And we all appreciated the comfortable and convivial ways in which he interacted with members of our lay, rabbinic and professional communities. In a word, Eric Yoffie was a wonderful scholar-in-residence!
My deepest thanks to you once again for visiting Holy Cross and for sharing such an insightful and empathetic understanding of the challenges and opportunities of Jewish life today. I was particularly impressed at how you set the context and at the same time encouraged the audience not to be limited by that context.
It was such a great pleasure to have you here at Temple Emanu-El for our Rabbi Albert T. Bilgray Lectureship Scholar-in-Residence Weekend last week. Your four presentations were each unique, thoughtful, inspirational, and extraordinarily well-received. The response to your lectureship has been universally positive and extremely enthusiastic.
Your presentation on Israel at the University was filled with unusual and profound observations about the role of religion in Israeli society, and the reality of Judaism in the Jewish state today and in the future. Your “casual talk” to the Bilgray sponsors at dinner was warm, engaging, and thought-provoking. Your presentation on Reform Judaism at Shabbat services was simply fantastic. And the in-depth study we did with you at the Rabbi’s Tish on the subject of liberal Judaism was inspirational and incisive.
Rabbi Yoffie was an outstanding guest scholar. He gave five presentations during the course of the weekend, and each one was insightful, provocative, inspiring and powerfully delivered. He knows how to teach and to engage with others in a manner that is clear, dynamic and always respectful. Our members responded with enthusiasm and delight; many told me he was the finest scholar in residence we’ve ever brought to our congregation. Hills, CA
Rabbi Eric Yoffie gave a talk at Fairfield University on American Jews and Israel that was outstanding in both delivery and content. Highly informative and deeply reflective, he was refreshingly, though cautiously, optimistic in addressing current Israeli political, economic, and religious issues of concern to many American Jews. His talk was accessible to a diverse audience of undergraduates, faculty, administrators, and adults in the Greater Bridgeport/Fairfield Jewish communities. One of the best speakers of the hundreds I’ve brought to Fairfield University!
Beth Israel of San Diego was honored to host Rabbi Yoffie over a two day period during our congregation’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration. We asked him to speak to large and small groups. In both settings he showed a profound understanding of the Jewish world and current issues regarding American Jewish life and Israel. His talks are learned, powerful and passionate, and reveal keen and thoughtful insight into the issues and challenges he sees facing the Jewish world. He truly inspired his listeners and his personal warmth and charisma made his visit to our community a highlight of our year. We felt honored and privileged to have a thinker and leader of his stature in our midst.
The high point of Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s recent two-day visit to Florida State University was his provocative lecture entitled Politics and Religion in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. It was sponsored by the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Broad Lectureship on International Affairs. In it he provided an in-depth and insightful analysis of the current peace process, along with forceful arguments in favor of a two-state solution. At numerous less formal gatherings during his visit, Rabbi Yoffie engaged students and faculty members of different faiths on a wide range of campus, religious, domestic and international subjects. He did so with empathy and a great sense of humor.
Our Shabbat spent with Rabbi Yoffie was special indeed. He combines great depth of experience with excellent scholarship to provide interesting and sophisticated insights into the issues facing today’s Jewish community. His presentations as well as his personal interactions were genuine and warm.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie continues to be one of the most dynamic speakers on the American Jewish scene. His knowledge of American Jewry, Israel, and the relationships between them is extensive and his candor on these subjects is truly refreshing. His presentation at Temple Israel in Westport was universally acclaimed by all in attendance.
I remember Rabbi Yoffie, when you spoke at ISNA’s convention in Chicago…You spoke eloquently about the importance of fighting social and legal discrimination against Muslims. Your public words resonated with the audience, which gave you a standing ovation. What was especially remarkable, in my view, was the fact that the Muslims gathered were clearly convinced of your commitment to their rights, despite the fact that many of them would have disagreed with some of your views with some of your views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which you did not hesitate to express in that forum.
It is exactly one week ago today that we at Temple Emanuel-El were looking forward with great anticipation to our Scholar in Residence weekend. We knew that you would deliver an excellent, educational and inspirational lecture series. We also knew how very fortunate we were to have a scholar of your stature with us to enlighten us about Reform Judaism, the synagogue, and Israel with all of her complexities. What we didn’t know would be was that we would still be raving about our wonderful Shabbat with you a week later. Thank you and Amy for coming to Sarasota to be with us.
Eric Yoffie is the rare public speaker who fearlessly tackles the biggest issues of the day in a way that avoids common political and social stereotypes, and with a manner that makes even complex topics easily digestible for audiences. As a speaker and conference producer myself, I know how hard this can be. Even rarer, Eric blends a strong sense of ethics and spirituality with a keen knowledge of domestic and foreign issues, all without being preachy. His humility and dry wit delight audiences. I have seen him speak many times and have never failed to leave feeling enlightened.
Eric Yoffie brings clarity, vision, intellectual and moral leadership to the toughest issues facing America and the world. He combines great knowledge of religion, foreign policy and American politics. And he is a mesmerizing and entertaining speaker.
There are very few who can match Eric Yoffie in delivering his message. It is a treat to listen to him and learn. I have had the privilege on many occasions to go and learn from him. With warmest best wishes. Chazak V’Amatz.