Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s contributions to Israel and world Jewry over the past five decades have been instrumental in shaping today’s Modern Orthodox society.

He joins another prominent Jewish leader, Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein, for an open and wide-ranging discussion about the issues that are most central to the rapidly changing world we live in: Israel, the settlements and peace between Israeli and Arab; Judaism as a global religion; marriage, divorce and conversion; faith, doubt and belief; and the role of Jewish tradition and values in our lives today. This is a remarkable opportunity to explore these complex issues in a way that doesn’t get covered in the general media — and hear profound and meaningful arguments from two of our foremost Rabbis.

Rabbi Sholomo Riskin will sign copies of his books following the event.

Bios

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Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

Noted teacher, author and visionary, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin originally hails from Brooklyn NY. Rabbi Riskin graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Yeshiva University in 1960, where he majored in Greek, Latin and English literatures. He went on to receive semicha (rabbinical ordination) from the eminent Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, z”l, a Master’s Degree in Jewish History and a Ph.D from New York University’s department of Near Eastern Languages and Literature.

As the founding rabbi of the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, Rabbi Riskin created a focal point for an exciting approach to Orthodoxy, attracting many young intellectuals and professionals. He served as a role model for religious social action through his involvement in civil rights and the plight of Soviet Jewry, and he developed into a major spokesperson for Modern Orthodoxy by pioneering the first women’s Advanced Talmud Study program and the first synagogue service conducted for women by women in the early 70’s.

Yet, in 1983, Rabbi Riskin left his thriving career in Manhattan to pioneer the settlement of Efrat, south of Jerusalem; the city now numbers close to 12,000 people and is considered the most thriving, vibrant and desirable bedroom community of Jerusalem.

Upon arrival in Israel, Rabbi Riskin founded a boys’ High School in Efrat, the first in what would eventually become Ohr Torah Stone (OTS): a network of groundbreaking educational institutions, women’s empowerment programs, innovative leadership training, bridge-building outreach initiatives, and proactive social action projects that today encompasses 3,000 students from Israel and the Diaspora, ranging from elementary school to post-graduate programs for men and women. Despite the scope of ages, programs and geographical locales, OTS institutions are all united in espousing the vision and philosophy of their founder: a deep love for Israel, tolerance of one’s fellow man, knowledge and pride in Judaism, and high level secular studies. The Ohr Torah Stone network is training a knowledgeable, caring and relevant leadership for the future.

Rabbi Riskin is the author of eleven books and monographs chronicling and analyzing topical issues. His syndicated weekly columns appeared in the Jerusalem Post and in newspapers throughout the world, and his parshat hashavua (portion of the week) article is emailed weekly to over 3,000 subscribers.

Rabbi Riskin and his wife, Vicky live in Efrat, surrounded by their children and grandchildren.

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Peter J. Rubinstein

Peter J. Rubinstein brings decades of experience as a congregational rabbi and as a leader in the Jewish and interfaith communities to his role as 92Y’s director of Jewish Community and the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life. In this capacity, he oversees Jewish content and programming within the Bronfman Center, collaborates with staff throughout the institution on innovative programs related to Jewish themes, and forges new collaborations with faith leaders both within and beyond the Jewish community.

Rabbi Rubinstein is also the Rabbi Emeritus of Central Synagogue, a Reform congregation where he served as the Senior Rabbi for 23 years. Prior to his position at Central Synagogue, Rabbi Rubinstein served as the Rabbi of Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, New York and Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, California.

He is co-president of the US Board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and director of the Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism at the HUC-JIR in New York City. He is also immediate past chair of the Board of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City and is on the Board of the New York Region of the American Jewish Committee and Co-Chair of its Rabbinic Round Table.

Rabbi Rubinstein is also a founder and chair of the Rabbinic Council of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and a member of the organization’s North American Advisory Board. He co-chairs the Partnership of Faith in New York City, which includes the senior clergy of the city’s major congregations, and he frequently lectures on the evolution of synagogues and the role of a Rabbi now and in the future. He was ranked number three in Newsweek’s 2012 list of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis” and number 5 in 2013. He was named one of the 28 “2014 America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Daily Forward.

Rabbi Rubinstein graduated from Amherst College and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, where he also received a Master of Hebrew Letters degree with honors. He received a Doctor of Divinity in 1994.

He has taught at Manhattanville College, Colgate University, San Jose State and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion both in New York and Cincinnati. His essays have been included in Restoring Faith by Forrest Church, How Can I Find God (edited by James Martin) and Our Rabbis Taught and Shine by Star Jones.

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