Yehoyada Amir - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Yehoyada Amir, Rabbi, Ph.D.

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Professor of Jewish Thought


Israel Rabbinical Program, Jerusalem; Year-In-Israel Program, Jerusalem
Academic Field: 
Research Interests: 
Modern Jewish thought and theology ; Franz Rosenzweig ; Nachman Krochmal ; Mordecai Kaplan ; Post-Holocaust theology ; (Eretz) Israeli philosophies of Judaism

Yehoyada Amir is a Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. Combining academic and religious studies Amir has learned at Hebrew University, from which he received his Ph.D., the Conservative Seminary of Judaic Studies (current: The Schechter Institute), and the Humboldt University of Berlin. His scholarly work deals with a wide range of Modern Jewish philosophers (among others: Franz Rosenzweig, Nachman Krochmal, Hermann Cohen, A.d. Gordon, Barukh Kurzweil, Hugo Bergmann,  Eliezer Schweid, and Mordecai Kaplan). His attention is drawn to religious, humanistic approaches to Jewish existence in light of modernity, the memory of the Shoa, and the unique responsibility Israeli Jewish being represents. His current projects as a fellow of the NYU Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization combine a thorough analysis of the 19th century philosopher Nachman Krochmal striving Judaism's revival under modern culture and philosophy on the one hand, and the challenges of non-Orthodox religious thought in 20th century and contemporary Jewish life in Israel, on the other hand.

For ten years (1999-2009) Rabbi Amir served as the director of HUC-JIR's Israel Rabbinic Program. Under his leadership the program was expanded, redesigned and acknowledged as the leading Liberal environment for religious and rabbinic education in Israel. Most of the Reform rabbis serving in Israel have studied at HUC in this period. Rabbi Amir is an active member of Maram, the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and served in various periods as a board member of the council. He has a leading role in contemporary theological-religious, social and ethical discourse in Israel's Reform Movement as well as in neighboring circles.

Narrative Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

  • Modern Jewish thought and theology
  • Franz Rosenzweig
  • Nacnman Krochmal
  • Mordecai Kaplan
  • Post-Holocaust theology
  • (Eretz) Israeli philosophies of Judaism


  • Ph.D., Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1994)
  • Rabbinic ordination, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (2004)

Chaired conferences:

  • “Methodological and Ideological Implications of the Study of Jewish Thought”, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, 1997
  • “Andre Neher and French Jewish Thought after the Holocaust” (international conference), the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 1998
  • “The Text as a Source”, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 2000
  • Faith, Truth and Reason: An International Conference on the philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig (international conference; co-chair),  Hebrew Union College, The Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies and the International Rosenzweig Society, 2006

Academic and Religious Duties:

  • The Van leer Institute’s Framework for Contemporary Jewish Thought and Identity, board (1997-2000)
  • Maram – The Israeli Council of Reform Rabbis, board (2004-2006, 2010)
  • International Rosenzweig Society, presidium (2004 --- )
  • Jewish and Christian Perspectives, Brill Publications, editorial board (2006 ----)
  • European Judaism: lector, 2010 ---


  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2003-2004 
  • Isarel's Minister of Culture Award, 2008 
  • Tikva Center for Law and Jewish Civilization, New York University, Fellowship, 2011-2012
Selected Publications and Edited Works


  • Reason out of Faith: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig [Hebrew, 2004]
  • A Small Still Voice: Theological Critical Reflections [Hebrew, 2009]
  • The Philosophy of Nachman Krochmal [Hebrew, 2012]

Books edited:

  • Andre Neher and Post Holocaust French Jewish Thought [Hebrew, 2005].
  • The Path of the Spirit: Eliezer Schweid’s Jubilee Volume [Hebrew, 2 volumes, 2005]
  •  Franz Rosenzweig, Das Büchlein vom Gesunden und Kranken Menschenverstand [Hebrew translation; academic editor, 2005]
  •  Nachman Krochmal, Moreh Nevukhei ha-Zeman [Hebrew, academic editor, 2010]
  • Faith Truth and Reason: the Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig, [German and English; co-editor; 2012]


  • The Foundations of Franz Rosenzweig's Theory of Knowledge” [Hebrew], Iyyun, 39 (October 1990), pp. 381–422
  • “‘The Star of Redemption' between Judaism and Christianity” [Hebrew], Daat, 29 (Summer 1992), pp. 107–130
  • On the Rivers of Babylon: Krochmal and Psalm 137”[Hebrew], Tarbiz, 51, 3–4 (Spring–Summer 1992), pp. 527–544
  • “Miracle as an Epistemological Category in Rosenzweig's Philosophy”[Hebrew], Daat, 31 (Summer 1993), pp. 47–64
  • “Bridges: A. E. Simon and the Hope of the Hopers”[Hebrew], in: Z. Lamm (ed.), Design and Rehabilitation: Akiva Ernst Simon and Karl Frankenstein Memorial Volume, Jerusalem, 1996, pp. 38–58.
  • “From Idolatrous Myth to the Biblical Myth: a Study in the ‘Star of Redemption’”(Hebrew), in: Havivah Pedayah (ed.), The Myth in Judaism, Beer Sheba, 1996, pp. 379–392.
  • “Man's Share in the Truth: On the Star of Redemption's Notion of Truth” [Hebrew], Rivka Shatz–Uffenheimer Memorial Volume, Jerusalem, 1996, II,  pp. 557–586
  • “Ewigkeit  und  Wahrheit: Die  messianische  Erkenntnistheorie Franz Rosenzweigs”, in: Eveline Goodman–Thau (ed.), Vom Jenseits: Jüdisches  Denken in  der  Euröpäischen Geisetesgeschichte, Berlin, 1997, pp. 143–167  
  • “Sionismo y Fundamentalismo”,Reflejos, 5 (1996), pp. 111–122
  • “Towards ‘a Life of Expansion’: Education as Religious Deed in A. D. Gordon’s Philosophy”, in: Yisrael Rich & Michael Rosenak (eds.), Mordechai Bar–Lev Memorial Volume, London, 1999, pp. 19–63.
  • “Bei Gott zu Sein?: der ‘ewige Weg’ des einzelnen Juden nach der Philosophie Franz Rosenzweigs”, in: Jochen Denker, Jonas Marquardt and Borgi Winkler–Rohlfing (eds.), Bertold Klappert Jubelle Volume, Neukirchener, 1999, pp. 350–363
  • “The Images of Abraham and Moses in Krochmal’s Philosophy” [Hebrew], in: Hannah Kasher and Mosheh Hallamish (eds.), The Faith of Abraham, Ramat Gan,   2002, pp. 205–228. 
  • “Rosenzweig’s Concept of Prayer” [Hebrew], Criticism & Interpretation, 37 (2003), pp. 29–64 
  • “The Perplexity of our Time: Nachman Krochmal and Modern Jewish Existence”,Modern Judaism, 23, 3 (2003), pp. 264–301
  • “From Negation to Rehabilitation: The Role of Myth in Modern Jewish Philosophy”[Hebrew]in:Moshe Idel and Ithamar Gruenwald(eds.),Myth in Jewish Thought Jerusalem, 2004, pp. 264–301
  • “Die Offenbarung Gottes und des Menschen aus den Quellen des Judentums: eine Studie zu Rosenzweigs Stern der Erlösung”,in: Martin Brasser (ed.),Rrosenzweig als Leser, Tübingen, 2004, pp. 429–451
  • “Land, Nature and Man: Striking Roots in Eretz–Israel’s Landscape according to the Thought of A. D. Gordon”[Hebrew], in: Aviezer Ravitzki (ed.), Eretz Israel in 20th Century Jewish Thought, Jerusalem, 2004, pp. 315–345
  • “Religion and Religions in the 'Star of Redemption'”, in: Luc Ancert, Martin Brasser and Norbert Samuelson (eds.), The Legacy of Franz Rosenzweig, Leuven Press, 2004, pp. 199–210
  • “The Concept of Exile as a Model for dealing with the Holocaust”, in: Steven Katz (ed.), The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology, New York and London, 2005, pp. 226–247
  • “Yitzchak Julius Guttmann and the Study of Jewish Philosophy” [Hebrew], in: Hagit Lavski (ed.), The History of Hebrew University of Jerusalem: A Period of Consolidation and Growth, I, Jerusalem, 2005, pp. 219–255
  • “Identification through Critique: The troubled Friendship of Shmuel Hugo Bergmann and Martin Buber” [Hebrew],  Daat, 57–59 (2006), pp. 289–312  
  • “ 'To Mend the World': From Rosenzweig to Fackenheim”, in: Wolfdietrich Schmied–Kowarzik (ed.), Franz Rosenzweigs 'Neues Denken': Internationaler KongreßKassel 2004, I, München & Freiburg, 2006, pp. 619–625
  • “Ein gender-orientierter Blick auf die Liebe Gottes zum Menschen”, ibid, II, pp. 845–861 
  • “Rosenzweig and Jewish Education: A Biographic–Philosophical Study” [Hebrew], in: Howard Kreisel (ed.), Study and Knowledge in Jewish Thought,  Beer Sheba, 2006, II, pp. 273–299
  • “Towards Mutual Listening: The Notion of Sermon in Franz Rosenzweig's Philosophy”, in: Alexander Deeg, Walter Homolka and Heinz–Günter Schlötter, Preaching in Judaism and Christianity, Berlin, 2008, pp. 113–130  
  • “Jewish and Christian Bible Reading Between Retro-sepctivism and 'Pro-Spectivism' (Response)”, ibid, pp. 175–181 
  • “New Paths towards Christianity and Islam in the Thought of Nachman Krochmal and Elijah Benamozegh”, in: Görge Hasselhoff (ed.), Die Entdeckung des Christentums in der Wissenschaft des Judentums, Berlin, 2010, pp. 213–238
  • “Rabbi Soloveitchik as a Cultural Agent: A Critical Reading of ‘The Lonely Man of Faith’” [Hebrew], in: Avinoam Rosenak and Naftali Rothenberg (eds.), Studies in Rabbi Yossef Dov Soloveitchik’s Influence on Culture, Education and Jewish Thought, Jerusalem, 2011, pp. 223–244
  • “Rosenzweig’s Encounter with Rabbi Judah ha-Levi’s Poetry” [Hebrew], in: Franz Rosenzweig, Jehudah Halevi: Fünfundneunzig Hymnen und Gedichte: Deutsch und Hebräisch, Jerusalem, 2011, pp. 1–28
  • 8 entrees in the encyclopedia Religion in der Geschichte Und Gegenwart
  • 15 entrees in the 2007 edition of Enciclopedia Judaica 
  • Liturgie and sermons:

    • Mevakshei Paneikhah (I): Liturgy, Midrash and Theology for the High Holidays [Hebrew; co-editor], 2000  
    • Mevakshei Paneikhah (II): Liturgy, Midrash and Theology for the Holidays and Mourning days of theHebrew Calendar [Hebrew; co-editor], 2009   
    • Haggadah for Our Time: An Israeli Reform Passover Haggadah [Hebrew; co-editor], 2009   
    • Barekhu: Publication for Renewal of the Prayer in Israel [Hebrew], 2010 [co-editor]  
    • Sermons, articles and prayers in:
Public Lecture Topics
“Emanzipation als das Ende der Galut?”, Luzern 2000
“Die Offenbarung Gottes und des Menschen aus den Quellen des Judentums”, Luzern 2001
“Religion and Religions in Rosenzweig’s Philosophy”, Phoenix AZ 2002
“Franz Rosenzweig – Ein gender-orientierter Blick”, Kassel, Germany 2004
“Rabbi Soloveitchik as a Cultural Agent” [Hebrew], Jerusalem,2004
“New Learning: Rosesnzweig’s Notion of Jewish Education” [Hebrew], Beer Sheba 2004
“A. D. Gordon’s Philosophy: A political Analysis”, Washington DC 2005
“Emanuel Levinas: Between Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig”, Jerusalem 2006
“Franz Rosenzweig's Approach to Jewish Preaching”, Bamberg, Germany 2007
“The Transcendental Dimensions of the Buberian Dialogue” [Hebrew], Jerusalem 2007
“Towards a Reform Theology in Israel”, Jerusalem 2007
“Hebrew as a Tongue for Philosophic Writings: The Philosophies of Nachman Krochmal and Shmuel David Luzzato” [Hebrew], Jerusalem 2008
“Philosophic Groundings for Pluralistic Jewish Education” [Hebrew], Jerusalem 2009
“Nachman Krochmal’s Notion of Religion”, Jerusalem 2009
“Israel als jüdischen Staat: reöigiöse und sekuläre Dimensionen”, Mainz, Germany 2009
“Wissenschaft des Judentums, Philosophy and Religious Writings in Nachman Krochmal's Work” [Hebrew], Beer Sheba 2010
"Israel's Declaration of Independence: The Role and Usage of the Bible" [Hebrew], Herzliya 2011
“Scripture, Hermeneutics, and Philosophy: Hebrew Bible's Role and Interpretation in the Thought of Herman Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig”, New York, NY 2012; Jerusalem 2012
"Religious Socialist Humanism: Reflection after Hermann Cohen's Philosophy” [Hebrew], Jerusalem 2013
“Prophecy and Halakhah: Towards Non-Orthodox Religious Praxis in (Eretz) Israel”, New York, NY 2012
“Krochmal as a Neo-Maimonidean”, Chicago IL 2012
“Living with the Memory of the Deceased: Reform Theological Liturgical Understandings of the End of Life”, Jerusalem 2013
“Abraham (ben Nachman) Krochmal's Religious Philosophy”, Jerusalem 2013
“New Perspectives on Mordecai Kaplan from his book Ha-emunah ve-ha-musar”, Washington DC 2014