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Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avraham (Avi) Weiss is the founding president of YCT, the Modern and Open Orthodox Rabbinical School in New York. He is also the senior Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, a congregation of 850 families. Most recently, he founded Yeshivat Mahara”t, a school ordaining women to become Jewish spiritual leaders.

Rabbi Weiss was named one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine the past five consecutive years (placing 12th this past year). He is the author of "Spiritual Activism: A Jewish Guide to Leadership and Repairing the World" (Jewish Lights). His book on prayer, "Holistic Prayer: A New Guide to Jewish Spirituality," will be published this year by Toby Press.

Rabbi Weiss served as the National Chairman of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, and is the National President of AMCHA – the Coalition for Jewish Concerns.

Entries by Rabbi Avi Weiss

We Stand With You: Reflections on Our Solidarity Mission to Paris

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2015 | 3:38 PM

"A fire is burning." This Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky declared to European Jewry in the 1930s. Too few heeded his cry. As I leave Paris after a solidarity mission following terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher, I offer a similar cry.

French prime minister Manuel Valls proclaimed, "France without...

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Ritual and Shoah Memory

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 12:29 PM

Where have all the survivors gone? Bernie Adler, who saw his sister murdered before his eyes. Joseph Flonders, with all he experienced, leaving synagogue singing the traditional Sabbath song veshamru. Carola Greenspan, her closest friends' heads shaven, unable to distinguish one from the other.

It's 70 years since the Shoah....

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Mesorah and Making Room: A Journey to Women's Spiritual Leadership

(2) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 4:53 PM

In response to Yeshivat Maharat's celebration of its first "ordination as clergy" of three women, some have expressed upset. Without offering any specific halakhic argument, critics have declared it a "violation of our mesorah."

Mesorah is commonly associated with the giving and transmission of Torah. For some,...

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Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

(4) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 3:38 PM

This Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) is unique as it coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The story is well known: In 1939, Germany invaded Poland, forcing the 350,000 Jews of Warsaw into a Ghetto. In the ensuing years, particularly in 1942, the Nazis deported 300,000...

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A Personal Thank You to Rabbi David Hartman and Dr. Menachem Elon: Giants of the Jewish World

(2) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 12:16 PM

I am deeply, deeply saddened to hear of the death of my friend, Rabbi Dr. David Hartman. This comes on the heels of the loss of the great Jewish legal scholar, Dr. Menachem Elon. While Dr. Elon and Rabbi Hartman made different contributions to Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, for...

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Newtown Massacre: Assuming Responsibility

(3) Comments | Posted December 25, 2012 | 11:00 AM

"The sky is crying and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. And it is also your day, Noah, my little man."

So eulogized Veronique Pozner, mother of Noah Pozner, who was viciously murdered in the Sandy Hook Massacre.

Sadly, this is hardly the first...

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Reflections on Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense

(12) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 1:49 PM

It was one of the most painful weeks of my rabbinate -- the week I spent in Netzer Hazani in Gush Katif, in the summer of 2005 as 21 Jewish communities were dismantled. I witnessed the Israeli army removing the Netzer residents out of their homes. I will never forget...

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So Close and Yet So Far: Reconnecting to Our Fellow Person

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 12:27 PM

We've all had our painful moments in life. Here's one of mine.

It was May of 1985. President Ronald Reagan had decided to visit the Bitburg Cemetery and place a memorial wreath at the graves of SS-Waffen Nazi soldiers buried there. To placate the Jewish community, he agreed to...

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Offering Thanks: Reflections on 25 Years of a Gift of Life

(9) Comments | Posted December 30, 2011 | 7:14 PM

Just the other day I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my quadruple bypass-open heart surgery. It all started three months earlier, in September. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry was protesting in front of Lincoln Center against the appearance of the Russian Moiseyev Dance Company. Our position was that there...

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Gilad Shalit's Release: A Heavy-Hearted Celebration

(5) Comments | Posted October 18, 2011 | 3:27 PM

Gilad Shalit has come home. Is this a time for euphoria or upset?

The head tells us that this is a terrible deal. The lopsided exchange may lead to more terrorism, more Israeli deaths. Nadav Shragi, in a report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, analyzed...

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