Dr. Haim O. Rechnitzer Promoted to Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), has announced the promotion of Dr. Haim O. Rechnitzer to the position of Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, as of July 1, 2010.  Dr. Rechnitzer is also Visiting Professor at the Center for Studies in Jewish Education & Culture at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Rechnitzer earned his doctorate from The Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 2003, and his rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR/Jerusalem in 2003. He received both his MA and his BA with distinction in the Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University in 1996 and 1993, respectively.  He studied at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership as a Jerusalem Fellow and at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.                                 

Prior to joining the faculty of the College-Institute, Dr. Rechnitzer was on the faculty at Franklin and Marshall College in the Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Thought.  His has also served on the faculties of Kedem Teachers College, Sapir College, and Hebrew University in the fields of Modern Jewish and Israeli Thought and Political Theology.

Dr. Rechnitzer has published widely in his field.  He is currently working on five publications:  "Hobbes, Maimonides, Healthcare Reform and Tzelem Elohim: The Political Theology of Universal Healthcare," in the CCAR Journal; "Theological and Pedagogical Implications of the Role of Zionism in Reform Jewish Manifestos: A Bridge from Vision to Prax," with Gabriela Brandes-Minnes in The Journal of Jewish Education; "The Evolution of the Term Talmud Torah in the Reform Prayer Books and Platforms during the Last Three Decades," (Hebrew) in The Reform Movement: Sociology, Education and Theology, ed Avinoam Rosnak (Jerusalem, Van-Leer Institute), with Jonathan Cohen;  "The Reform Zionist Theology at the Turn of the 20th Century," (Hebrew) in The Reform Movement: Sociology, Education and Theology, ed. Avinoam Rosnak (Jerusalem, Van-Leer Institute); and "Judaism and the Idea of the Law: Leo Strauss and Yeshayuha Leibowitz's Philosophical and Ideological Interpretations of Maimonides," Hebrew Union College Annual, 79 (2009).

In addition to his publications, Dr. Rechnitzer has written poems and sermons as well as presented at conferences.  His lecture topics include "Between Israeli Poetry and Jewish Theology," "Zionism and Political Theology," "The Redemptive Theology of contemporary Jewish Thinkers," "Judaism as Faith versus Judaism as Law," "Modes of Translation from Jewish Thought to Jewish Education," and "The Transformation of Jewish Value-Concepts: From Classic Text to Modern Context."

Dr. Rechnitzer is currently completing research in two fields: “The State of Israel and Contemporary Reform Political Theology” and “Religion and State - Construction of a Dialogue Between Halakhic Responsa and Contemporary Liberal Political Philosophy.”


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu