Rabbi Yehoyada Amir, Ph.D., Promoted to Professor of Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR/ Jerusalem

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rabbi Yehoyada Amir, Ph.D., has been promoted to Professor of Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR/ Jerusalem, effective July 1, 2012. 

Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, stated, “Dr. Yehoyada’s international distinction as a scholar in Jewish religious thought, as well as his significant contributions to the Reform Movement in Israel, bring honor to HUC-JIR.” 

His scholarly work deals with a wide range of Modern Jewish philosophers, including  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 Shoah, and the unique responsibility Israeli Jewish being represents. He has a leading role in contemporary theological-religious, social, and ethical discourse in Israel's Reform Movement as well as in neighboring circles.

Dr. Amir received his Ph.D. (1993) and M.A. (1987) in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University (1993), M.A. in Jewish Religious Education and Jewish Studies from the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary (1986-1989), and B.Sc. in Mathematics and Jewish Thought from Hebrew University (1981). He spent a research year at Freie Universität in Berlin, and was ordained at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem in 2004.

Dr. Amir joined the HUC-JIR faculty in 2000.  For ten years (1999-2009) he 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 studied at HUC-JIR during this period. He has also taught at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University, Beit Berl College, Tel Aviv University, Humboldt University in Berlin, and New York University School of Law. He has supervised master’s and doctoral dissertations for students at Hebrew University, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, and Bar Ilan University.

Dr. Amir has served in a number of public roles, including as a member of the Curricular Committee for Jewish Thought for the Ministry of Education; and on the Board of the Van Leer Institute’s Framework for Contemporary Jewish Thought and Identity (chairing its conferences).  He serves as a Board member of the Menachem Mordecai Kaplan Center, Hermann Cohen Society, Internationaler Rosenzweig Gesellschaft, Panim-The Coalition for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Israel, Israel Religious Action Center, Maram-Israeli Council of Reform Rabbis, Kehillat Tzedek-Center for Jewish Communal Responsibility, and as Chair of the Committee of Ideological Affairs, Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and Maram.

He is the recipient of distinguished awards and fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Ministry of Culture, and was a Tikvah Fellow at the Center for Jewish Law and Civilization, School of Law, New York University, where his project combined  a thorough analysis of the 19th century philosopher Nachman Krochmal striving Judaism's revival under modern culture and philosophy and the challenges of non-Orthodox religious thought in 20th century and contemporary Jewish life in Israel.

His extensive publications include his new edition of Nachman Krochmal, More Nevukhei Hazeman (Today's Guide for the Perplexed) and Da'at Ma'amina (Reason out of Faith), a study of Franz Rosenzweig's "The Star of Redemption" (Der Stern der Erlösung).


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