Rabbi Chaim Eisen | Yeshivath Sharashim

Rabbi Chaim Eisen

Rabbi Chaim Eisen is a graduate of the Yeshivat Hakotel Theological Seminary in Jerusalem (yeshivah and rabbinical kolel programs). He also studied at Yeshivas Heichal HaTorah BeTzion, also in Jerusalem. In addition, he studied science and general philosophy at Columbia University of New York. Along with his traditional background in religious studies, he holds a degree in biophysics from Columbia, having graduated summa cum laude with membership on the Dean’s List and in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He has been teaching, editing, and publishing Judaica professionally for over 37 years.

Besides at Yeshivath Sharashim / Zion Bible Studies, he serves as a senior rabbinical lecturer in adult education at the Orthodox Union (OU) Jerusalem World Center, where he has taught for over 36 years. Over the years, his lecture series there have completed several cycles of study of Ethics of the Fathers, as well as the philosophical classics The Kuzari and Guide of the Perplexed. More recent classes include series in early Biblical commentaries, Talmudic Aggadah, and classic Jewish thought and philosophy. He has also presented numerous special sessions on the holidays and the weekly Torah portions. In addition, as a freelance speaker, he has been stimulating audiences throughout Israel, North America, and Europe with talks on the Bible and Biblical commentaries, Jewish thought and philosophy, and education, for three and a half decades, serving as a “scholar-in-residence” and guest lecturer in numerous communities and at OU Torah Conventions.

For over 20 years, he also taught Biblical commentaries, Talmud and Midrash, and especially Jewish thought and philosophy at various religious seminaries in Israel — most recently and prominently, as rebbi and lecturer at Yeshivat Hakotel’s Foreign Students and Israeli Hesder programs. There, he initiated and directed the Advanced Seminar in Jewish Thought, for students with the acumen and commitment to pursue an extra course of study, stressing the philosophical classics, besides the traditional

yeshivah (seminary) curriculum. In addition, he taught weekly Hebrew and English classes in Jewish thought to older, more advanced students and a daily Gemara class in Talmudic Aggadah for the oldest, most advanced foreign students. He also effectively filled the role of spiritual guide, devoting many hours weekly to personal counseling and conversations with students on a broad spectrum of spiritual and theological problems and questions.

In addition, he served as a Torah lecturer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Rabbinate Torah Lecture Corps (reserves), for over 16 years. Since retiring from the IDF Rabbinate, he continues to volunteer as a Torah lecturer in the IDF. Besides teaching, he was founding editor of the OU journal Jewish Thought: A Journal of Torah Scholarship and has written and edited numerous essays in this field. A frequent contributor to the OU magazine Jewish Action, his prominent publications there include “Sefer HaKuzari” (JA, 60, No. 4 [5760], 80-86); “Is Yeshivah Education Accomplishing What It Should?” (JA, 62, No. 2 [5762], 44-50; JA, 63, No. 1 [5763], 14-21; JA, 63, No. 3 [5763], 5-6 [letters]) and an essay in “Symposium: ‘You Have Chosen Us from amongst the Nations’” (JA, 65, No. 1 [5765], 18-25). He also volunteered as a board member of Operation Dignity, a relief organization on behalf of the former residents of Gush Katif, after their expulsion.

Over the past years, he has also become increasingly involved in “building bridges” with Christian believers, through lectures and informal meetings in Israel, North America, and Europe, and via the Internet (especially, through Yeshivath Sharashim / Zion Bible Studies). More generally, he advocates a dialogue of Jews and Christians mutually respecting their differences while affirming that more unites them, through devotion to the God of the Bible and dedication to His word that they both love and revere. He maintains that Jews and Christians should leave disparities pertaining to the Messianic era where they belong: in God’s hands. He believes it is imperative for all people to bond together now to do God’s holy work as He charges us. He prays that all men and women of faith may stand “shoulder to shoulder” (Zephaniah 3:9), in joint efforts, readying the earth for God’s “great and awesome day” (Joel 3:4 and Malachi 3:23), speedily, in our days.

Most of all, he feels passionately that, to pave the way for God’s “great and awesome day,” there is a burning imperative today to enunciate the Torah’s message in the global marketplace of ideas, where it is so sorely lacking. More than ever, we palpably sense the crises of faith that Amos describes: “Behold, days are coming, says God the Lord, when I shall send a famine in the earth, not a famine for bread nor a thirst for water, but to hear the words of God” (Amos 8:11). In the end, we know this hunger and thirst will be satisfied only when “the earth will be full of knowledge of God, as the waters cover the seabed” (Isaiah 11:9). Tragically, though, nowadays, few who value the Torah’s message appreciate the global marketplace of ideas — and vice versa. More than anything else, he is committed to bringing to bear a lifetime of study and teaching, to address and redress this gaping void, by the light of the Torah.

He first came to Israel over 40 years ago as a yeshivah (seminary) student, fulfilling a dream since early childhood to live in Israel. Essentially — apart from his final year at Columbia University — he has remained, leaving only for his occasional lecture tours abroad. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife of 35 years, Raye (née Rakeffet). They have three married sons (and, so far, six grandsons), all living in Israel. All their sons have served in active combat duty as fighters in “Nahal Haredi,” the Netzah Yehuda Battalion of the elite Kfir Brigade of the IDF, within the framework of the Hesder program.

ZAKA | Israel’s NGO Emergency Rescue and Recovery Organization

A ZAKA Rescue and Recovery team at the scene of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. One volunteer can be seen cleaning the blood spilled from Jewish murder victims.
According to Jewish custom, all blood and body parts must be buried in dignity because this body housed God’s holy spark. ZAKA volunteers perform the grim and holy task of searching meticulously to collect shards of shattered limbs and to reverently collect every drop of Jewish blood spilled at murder scenes and after terrorist attacks.
ZAKA also travels to every country on the planet to provide search and rescue efforts, as well as all manner of relief and support.

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav: “ZAKA, as a UN-recognized international humanitarian volunteer organization, considers it a moral obligation to offer help and assistance to all those in need, regardless of religion, race or creed, when their country is overtaken by disaster. This is part of our mission to sanctify the divine name and Israel around the world.”

Rabbi Moshe & Leah Goldsmith | The Light from Zion and Itamar

Rabbi Moshe and Leah Goldsmith

Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. He studied at BTA Yeshiva High School and completed a bachelor’s degree in Biology in Brooklyn College. From a very young age he felt the calling to go and settle in the Land of Israel. Shortly after graduating college, he married his wife, Leah and they made Aliyah with the intention of joining hands with a nucleus of pioneers in establishing a new community in Israel’s heartland. Their idealistic dream came true and they were amongst the first founding families of Itamar, situated in the very heart of the Samarian Mountains. Rabbi Goldsmith’s love for Torah motivated him to join a rabbinical program in nearby Elon Moreh where he studied for thirteen years, receiving his smicha (Rabbinic ordination) from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and a teaching degree.

Rabbi Goldsmith help set up the Itamar Yeshivah high school, Yeshivat Chitzim, which specializes in educating boys with learning disabilities through the love of Torah and Israel. Yeshivat Chitzim today is the answer for 250 boys from all over Israel that want to succeed in learning and at the same time can enjoy the experience of building the land.

In addition to his devotion to education, Rabbi Goldsmith became very active in community leadership where he served as an Itamar council member for over fifteen years and as Itamar’s Mayor for over eight years.

Besides his important roles in leadership and education, Rabbi Goldsmith was one of the founders of the Itamar Response Team. After he completed his army service, he took a course in anti-terror fighting tactics that led to the setting up of the Itamar response team. Rabbi Goldsmith has been on the scene of most of the terror attacks that have struck the community including the last horrific massacre of the Fogel family.

In the memory of the residents of Itamar that were murdered in terror attacks, Rabbi Goldsmith established a non-profit organization – The Friends of Itamar, where funds are raised to strengthen the community, enhance its educational institutions, build parks and playgrounds, and make it a better and safer place to live. Rabbi Goldsmith today serves as the president of the non-profit organization.

Rabbi Goldsmith is a strong believer in the universal role that the people of Israel must play in being a light to the nations. He is an experienced lecturer on a wide range of topics and lectures on a regular basis to a variety of audiences. He played an instrumental role and took part in the recently published book –  The Light from Zion. The book is A collection of essays written by twelve Rabbis from Israel on the weekly Torah portions sharing a taste of Torah to the nations.





Judy Tashbook | Cooking and Torah Workshops

Judy Tashbook and her daughter, Charlotte Elisheva Chana (“Ellie”), pictured near Tzfat, their family’s ancestral home for five hundred years – from the family patriarch, Jewish mystic, Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, to Judy’s humbly pious great grandparents.

We have gathered around a round table not just to break the bread of interfaith fellowship, but to bake it with Judy Tashbook.  Judy leads hands-on workshops in which participants bake challah, make matzah balls, and learn Torah in a warm and friendly environment that nourishes mind, body, and soul. Judy’s Torah workshops feel like you’re spending a comforting few hours in a Jewish mother’s kitchen, learning the stories, and absorbing the wisdom just as the Children of Abraham and Sarah have for thousands of years. You won’t feel like you’re studying, but you will learn from sources as wide and deep as the Chumash (the five books of Moses), Psalms, Proverbs, Prophets, and the Talmud. Judy mixes Jewish history and classical rabbinic teachings while she mixes dough and teaches Jewish prayers and songs as our challah and spirits rise. We look forward to learning the Book of Esther and how to make hamentaschen, and to a parenting/grandparenting class that draws from The Ethics of the Fathers while we roll and fill varieties of sweet rugelach, just as these time-honored techniques were passed down from generation to generation of mothers.

Judy Tashbook Safern, publisher of Dallas Jewish Monthly, the lifestyle magazine for the fastest-growing Jewish community in North America, and Advisory Board member of Texans for a Safe Israel, is an alumnus of Bais Yaakov Academy’s seminary in Brooklyn, the University of Texas, and The New School for Social Research. The proud Ima of two teenagers currently learning in eretz Yisrael, Judy can be reached at DallasJewishMonthly@gmail.com.