Internationally known religious leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie to speak at Fairfield University


Image: E YofflieIsrael and where it stands today relative to a volatile Syria and Egypt is the subject of a Fairfield University lecture by religious leader and writer Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., in the Dolan School of Business.

Free and open to the public, Rabbi Yoffie's talk - "American Jews Look at a Changing Israel: Peace, Prosperity, and Religious Pluralism" - is the 2013 Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecture.

"With the Middle East in turmoil, I will look at how the current unrest in Syria and Egypt impacts Israel's leadership and people," said Yoffie, the president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of the Reform movement in North America. "I will also examine the growing importance of religious freedom and religious pluralism in the politics of Israel, and will discuss how American Jews relate to Israel in these difficult times." 

The event is presented by Fairfield University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, and is made possible by the generosity of the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation. There is limited seating. To reserve a seat, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066.

Yoffie, who was once named by the Forward newspaper as the number one Jewish leader in America, writes regularly for The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz. 

Travelling often to Israel and meeting frequently with Israel's elected leadership, he is an expert on Israel and the Middle East and one of the most frequently quoted American Jewish leaders on the subject for the past two decades.

He 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 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, 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.

One of the Bennett Center's goals is to enrich the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual life of Fairfield University and the region through lectures, programs, and other special events. For more information, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/judaic/.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 15, 2013

Vol. 46, No. 79