Haim O. Rechnitzer - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Haim O. Rechnitzer, Rabbi, Ph.D.

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Professor of Modern Jewish Thought


Rabbinical Program, Cincinnati; School of Graduate Studies, Cincinnati
Academic Field: 
Philosophy/Theology; Contemporary Jewish Studies; Jewish Education
Research Interests: 
Political Theology; Theological Trends in Hebrew Literature; Jewish and Israeli Modern Thought

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Rabbi Dr. Haim O. Rechnitzer is Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a poet. He earned his doctorate from the department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University, and his rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR (Jerusalem) in 2003. Rabbi Dr. Rechnitzer’s research is dedicated to themes of political theology, theological trends in Hebrew poetry, Israeli theology and Jewish education. His recent books are, Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute 2012), Songs of the Third Exile (Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House, 2014), and Shibolet (Vortex) (Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House, 2014). Shibbolet (Vortex) is s a composition of poem cycles, each dedicated to a different theological question; the relation between language and existence, the possibility of communication with the Divine, the Land of Israel, sacred time, the Garden of Eden "second naïveté", and returning to the theme of language. He has published articles on the subject of political theology, philosophy of education, theology of Piyut (religious hymns) and Hebrew poetry. Prior to joining the faculty of the College-Institute, Rabbi Dr. Rechnitzer taught in Israel and was on the faculty of the Franklin and Marshall College, Department of Religious Studies.

To download selected works follow this link 

Selected Publications and Edited Works

The Return of King Saul as a Messiah: Theo-political Heresy in Amir Gilboa’s Poetry.” Israel: Studies in Zionism and the State of Israel-History, Society and Culture 25 (2018) pp. 91-108.

“Let the Other be Me – The Theo-Political Predicament and the Arab in Shin Shalom’s Early Writings.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 20.1 (2018). pp. 1-10.

“From Honolulu to Tel Aviv Via Mt. Gilboa: The Rise and Fall of Shlonsky’s Messianic Halutz” Hebrew Studies 55. (2014). pp. 261-285.

"The Reform Zionist Theology at the Turn of the 20th Century." (Hebrew) in Reform Judaism: Thought, Culture and Sociology, ed. Avinoam Rosnak, Tel-Aviv: Van-Leer Institute& Hakibbuts Hameuchad, (2014). pp. 72-91.


"The Evolution of the Term Talmud Torah in the Reform Prayer Books and Platforms During the Last Three Decades." Haim O. Rechnitzer & Jonathan Cohen (Hebrew) in Reform Judaism: Thought, Culture and Sociology, ed. Avinoam Rosnak, Tel-Aviv: Van-Leer Institute & Hakibbuts Hameuchad, (2014). pp. 347-367.


(Vortex) Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House (2015)


נבואה והסדר המדיני המושלם: התיאולוגיה המדינית של ליאו שטראוס
(Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss), Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik (2012).

משירי הגלות השלישית
(Songs of the Third Exile)
Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House (2014)
Watch the book event online. Featuring S. Adler (Beit Midrash Elul) and Professors J. Cohen (Hebrew University), Rabbi A. Amir (HUC-JIR), D. Dor (Tel Aviv University), Dr. G. Meiri, and Rabbi H. Rechnitzer (HUC-JIR)


Current and Future Courses
Return to Paradise: from Midrash to modern literature
From an Earthly Temple to a Spiritual Architecture: An introduction to Kabbalah
Hassidism and the Mystical Quest
Modern readings of Maimonides’ Guide
Popular Folk-Song and Nation Building – From Yeshuv to a State
Reconstruction of Theology out of modern Hebrew Literature
Liberalism and the Limits of Religious Tolerance
Religion and State – between political philosophy and Israeli thought
Writing Theological ‘Rashi’ Interpretation to Talmudic Sugiyut
Zionism and post-Zionism – interdisciplinary construction of Israeli thought
Theology of Redemption or Redemptive Theology?
Orthodoxy and Heresy
Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought
Introduction to Medieval Jewish Thought
Introduction to Midrash Literature
Reading from the Zohar
Public Lecture Topics
New Trends in Israeli Music – from universalism to appropriation of mythical past
Hebrew Poetry and Mysticism
Political Theology and the Jewish State
The Limits of Tolerance and Liberal Political Philosophy
The Redemptive Theology of contemporary Jewish Thinkers
Judaism as Faith versus Judaism as Law
Modes of Translation from Jewish Thought to Jewish Education