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Author to answer: Why is Israel necessary?
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Author to answer: Why is Israel necessary?

Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis
Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis

As an academic and a much-published author, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis tackles the question at the heart of the Middle East conflict: Why is Israel necessary?

In a talk at Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Gordis will outline what he sees as the answer to that question, and what is needed to ensure Israel’s survival. His starting point is the impact — which he says many overlook — on the lives of Jews in the Diaspora.

In his latest book, Saving Israel: How the Jewish State Can Win a War That May Never End, Gordis says that even in the face of ever-mounting Arab hostility, he sees hope — if Israel and the Jewish people respond with wholehearted determination.

The book has aroused controversy, but also much praise from a range of Jewish figures, from Natan Sharansky to Cynthia Ozick and Sir Jonathan Sacks.

Gordis is now senior vice president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, a research and educational institute focused on developing and transmitting ideas central to Jewish intellectual and public life. Prior to making aliya, he was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at what is now the American Jewish University, in California. Before joining Shalem in 2007, he spent nine years as vice president of the Mandel Foundation in Israel and as director of its Leadership Institute.

His writing has appeared in such magazines and newspapers as The New York Times, The New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Moment, Tikkun, and Conservative Judaism.

Gordis received his master’s degree and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his PhD from the University of Southern California. He made aliya in 1998 and lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Elisheva, and their three children.

Gordis’ talk on Nov. 3 is sponsored by Beth Israel, Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim in Cranford, Temple Beth O’r/Beth Torah in Clark, the Israel Support Committee of those congregations, the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, and the JCC of Central New Jersey.

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