Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Awarded Tenure at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, has been awarded tenure at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, effective July 1, 2012.

Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, stated, “Dr. Haim Rechnitzer is a highly regarded scholar and devoted teacher who is researching highly significant issues in the areas of political theology and modern Jewish and Israeli thought.”

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 rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR/Jerusalem in 2003. He received both his M.A. (1996) and B.A. (1993) with distinction in the Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University.  He studied at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership as a Jerusalem Fellow, engaged in Mishnah and Talmud studies at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and studied composition, theory, and instrumentation at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

At HUC-JIR, he has taught courses on “Introduction to Theology,” “Reconstruction of Theology Out of Modern Hebrew Literature,” “Liberalism and the Limits of Religious Tolerance,” “Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought,” “Introduction to Medieval Jewish Thought,” “Introduction to Midrash Literature,” “Hassidism and the Mystical Quest,” “Writing Theological ‘Rashi’ Interpretation to Talmudic Sugiyot,” and “From an Earthly Temple to a Spiritual Architecture: An Introduction to Kabbalah,” “Religion and State – Between Political Philosophy and Israeli Thought,” “Modern Readings of Ancient Perplexity: Maimonides’ Guide to Where?,” “Theology of Redemption or Redemptive Theology,” “Introduction to Jewish Mysticism,” and “Orthodoxy and Heresy.”

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, including his recent book Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss. His extensive articles range from “To See God in His Beauty: Abraham Halfi and the Mystical Quest for the Evasive God” in The Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, to "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 Praxis," 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."

Among his numerous awards and grants are the Lucius Littauer Foundation and Werner Weinberg Foundation book publishing awards, the Celebration of Teaching Award Honoree for excellence in teaching from the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities; and the Brandeis Institute for Israel Studies – The Tauber Institute.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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