Scholar-in-Residence: Rabbi Benjie Gruber
This time we are welcoming a special guest from Israel,
Rabbi Benjie Gruber.
• Friday, April 28 at 8:15pm (During the Evening Service)
Topic: How Israel is Changing Judaism:
The Place of Israel in the Identity of Reform Jews.
• Saturday, April, 29 at 10:00am (During the Morning Service)
Topic: How Do You Say Tikkun Olam in Hebrew?
BIO: Rabbi Benjie (Jehiel Benjamin) Gruber was raised in Be’er-Sheva, after his family made aliyah from Chicago. He attended the Netiv Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and later combined military service in the Israeli Defense Forces with advanced college level courses at the Hesder Yeshiva in Yerucham, of which he was a founding member.
Under the auspices of the Jewish Agency, Benjie taught Jewish Studies in the former Soviet Union. Thereafter he spent 2 years in Portland, Oregon, teaching Judaism to all ages and denominations. It was in Portland that Benjie’s spirit was captured by liberal Judaism. While studying at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Benjie earned an M.A. in Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During his rabbinical studies Benjie was active in Congregations Mevakshe Derekh and Mevasseret Tzion, RHR, IRAC, Mekhinah in Yaffo and the Nativ conversion program.
Benjie feels obligated to all of these institutions, and continues to work and take an active part in many of them. In 2008 in the course of his rabbinic studies Benjie was awarded the Rabbi Moshe Zemer Prize for a responsum he wrote. In April 2012 Benjie published with his late and revered teacher Rabbi Dr. Jack J. Cohen, a book entitled Jacob’s ladder – Jewish reflections.
Benjie has lived on Kibbutz Yahel for six years. Sincehis move [from Jerusalem] Benjie has been teaching, guiding and spreading the word of Progressive Judaism all across the Arava Region [North and South of Yahel, including Eilat]. Benjie is married to Tovi who is a social worker, and they have three children, Yair (12), Ella (9) and Anna (5).
Since January 2014 Benjie is one of the first four Reform rabbis to have his salary partially funded by the State of Israel. Benjie is in Canada working as Sabbatical Rabbi at Temple Har Zion in Toronto and as scholar in residence for ARZA Canada, speaking of Israel and Reform Judaism in Israel, all across Canada.