Author Archives: Rafi Eis

Rabbi Rafi Eis is the Executive Director of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem and has been a teacher for 16 years.

Orthodoxy and LGBTQ in a Progressive World

by Rafi Eis The 2001 documentary Trembling Before G-d, changed the trajectory of Orthodox Judaism’s approach towards homosexuality. Until that point, a mainstream Orthodox view considered homosexual activity as a promiscuous lifestyle choice.[1] The film, however, profiled several Orthodox Jews for whom homosexuality was nature. They desperately wanted to live an Orthodox heterosexual life and build a family. However, no ...

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Aaron Koller’s Sacrifice of Judaism

by R. Rafi Eis Aaron Koller’s Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought (University of Nebraska Press/JPS, 2020) is a timely analysis of some of the dangers of contemporary forms of religious fanaticism, but his conclusions promote another set of perilous contemporary attitudes. The book has two purposes. Koller first explores the morality of the Akedah, ...

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The Loud Message of MASA’s Budget Cuts

by R. Rafi Eis Nobody likes budget cuts. Delivering the bad news is painful, and obviously being on the receiving end can be devastating. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to reduce their spending.  MASA Israel, a partnership between the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency to support long term Israel experience, is not immune to these realities. How ...

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Women Rabbis: Jewish Unity and the Limits of Autonomy

by R. Rafi Eis Is this the moment of an irrevocable split? Emotions have been running high in the Modern Orthodox community in the past three weeks over the clerical role of women in Orthodox Judaism. The OU statement expanded the official synagogue roles for women, but also denied them serving as congregational rabbis. The responses and counter responses newly ...

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Jewish Testing Wars?

by R. Rafi Eis Multiple Intelligences, 21st Century Learning, Differentiated Instruction, Blended Learning, Constructivist Education, One for One, Block Scheduling, Interdisciplinary curriculum, Student Agency, and Project Based Learning comprise just some of the major educational trends of the past few years. Yet after each year of implementing these highly acclaimed initiatives, many educators and parents feel disappointed that much more ...

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Let’s Lower Tuition!

by Rabbi Rafi Eis Day school tuition continues to rise five years after the affordability crisis began.  Avi Chai, PEJE, the Orthodox Union, Yeshiva University, the Kohelet Foundation, and many other organizations have devoted significant resources in an attempt to solve the affordability crisis, helping schools raise revenue, cut expenses, and become more efficient.  These organizations have helped schools become ...

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