About Alex Israel
Rabbi Alex Israel is an author, Tanakh teacher and international lecturer. He is a beloved teacher at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and is Director of the Community Education Program, Summer Program and Online learning 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 books, "I Kings - Torn in Two"(2013) and "II Kings: In a Whirlwind"(2018) have been received enthusiastically by teachers and laypeople alike.
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. Read his Torah and listen to his podcasts at www.alexisrael.org
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. 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 Rav Aharon Lichtenstein z"l. Their breadth and depth, humanity, passion and wisdom, has transmitted a rigorous, spiritual, intelligent, sensitive, ethical Judaism that cares deeply about individual community, nation and land.The hallmark of their teaching was uncompromising intellectual rigour along with a deep spirituality and a passionate caring for the Jewish future. Every topic was examined through a lens of complexity, examining arguments for and against, and thinking issues through carefully. This approach animates my own Torah study and worldview.
I have been privileged to live in Israel for over two decades, and to educate in top institution. Living in Israel is a privilege and an inspiration; just hearing Hebrew on the radio, living in an era of Jewish governance and self defense, driving and walking proudly through our biblical scenery, participating in the greatest Jewish experiment - the State of Israel - in 200 years! All this inspires and enlivens me.
I serve as Director of Community Education at Pardes. I have been active in the Tzohar rabbinic organization which bridges gaps between Israel's secular and religious populations. Working in a non-denominational institute brings me in touch with fellow Jews who think and live differently to me. This has had a profound impact on my Judaism and my Jewish thinking and continues to challenge my mind and soul.
Read more of my thoughts in the interview below:
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:
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
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