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About Alex Israel

Rabbi Alex Israel is an author, Tanakh teacher and international lecturer. He is a beloved teacher at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi and Matan, and is Director of the Community Education Program, Summer Program and the Elmad Online Study Website at the Pardes Institute. 

 

Born and raised in London, Rabbi Israel moved to Israel in 1991 and gained rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate following several years of study at Yeshivat Har Etzion. 

 

Rabbi Israel holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education, London, and Bar Ilan University. His first book "I Kings - Torn in Two" was published in 2013. 

 

See his shiurim and his new weekly "Parsha Discussion" designed to foster discussion at the Shabbat table, at www.alexisrael.org.

 

Rabbi Israel has lectured widely at campuses and communities on five continents.

He lives in Alon Shevut, Gush Etzion, with his wife Aliza, and their four wonderful children.

My Story

My love for education stems from the exhilarating encounter between the people that I teach and the Torah that we study together. To facilitate learning, to observe the discovery, excitement and growth on the face of a student as he or she experiences the magic of studying a new midrash, or a comment by Rashi, to watch on a students develop in their knowledge, understanding, maturity, idealism, and Jewish living - all this make teaching worthwhile.

Torah study was a significant feature in my parents' home as I grew up, but nothing set me on the path of my educational career more than my youth group Bnei Akiva. It was in Bnei Akiva that I educated for the first time. There I experienced the uncompromising passion and idealism of youth, the totality of the camp experience, there we built a creative and vibrant educational enterprise and a community that sought to live out its ideology - Torah, Aliya and an active contribution to the building of the State of Israel. Bnei Akiva was also infused with the ethos of "dugma ishit," the setting of a personal example; that we practice what we preach.

My path in Torah was facilitated by Yeshivat Har Etzion and its rabbis, an institution that inspired and taught me beyond words, and which gave me a tradition in Jewish thinking (hashkafa) and Torah learning.

I have been privileged to live in Israel for over two decades, and to educate in top institutions: Yeshivat Har Etzion, Midreshet Harova, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Orot, Emuna VeOmanut, and most recently Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi, and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. 

I serve as Director of Community Education at Pardes, and a teacher of Tanakh and Jewish Thought at Eretz Hatzvi. Additionally, I write and podcast for Har Etzion’s Virtual Beit Midrash. Since 1996, I have been active in the Tzohar rabbinic organization which bridges gaps between Israel's secular and religious populations. 

 

My personal religious philosophy has been inspired and guided by my incredible mentors, Rashei Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rav Yehuda Amital z"l and יבלח"א Rav Aharon Lichtenstein shlit"a. Their breadth and depth, humanity, passion and wisdom, has enlightened me and transmitted a rigorous, spiritual, intelligent, sensitive, ethical Judaism that cares deeply about individual community, nation and land.

 

 

 Scholar in Residence

Rabbi Israel makes regular visits to communities and campuses worldwide. Some of the topics he has recently addressed at Scholar-in-residence visits are:

 

1. Tanakh

  • Solomon: Sinner or Saint?

  • Moses' Hiding Face: What does a person do after they spent 40 days with God?

  • Ahab and Nabot: A Perfect Murder?

  • Mount Sinai: Coercion and Freedom in the Giving of the Torah

 

2. Tehillim

  • Rediscovering Tachanun. Tehillim ch.6. Falling into God's hand.

  • Psalm 93 - Chaos and Order in God's World

 

3. Contemporary Israel

  • Religious and Secular: Room for Optimism?

  • Art and Religion. How do they meet in Israel today? From Rav Kook to Kobi Oz.

  • Tanakh lessons for contemporary Israeli society.

 

4. Contemporary Jewish Thought

  • Halakha: How to find God in the details

  • The Ezra Revolution: How a modest scribe revolutionized Judaism

  • Rabbi Soloveitchik's Religious Thought