Rabbi Saul J. Berman
Rabbi Saul J. Berman is a leading Orthodox teacher and thinker.
As a Rabbi, a scholar, and an educator, he has made extensive
contributions to the intensification of women's Jewish education,
to the role of social ethics in Synagogue life, and to the
understanding of the applicability of Jewish Law to contemporary
Rabbi Berman was ordained at Yeshiva University, from which
he also received his B.A. and his M.H.L. He completed a
degree in law, a J.D., at New York University, and an M.A.
in Political Science at the University of California at
Berkeley. He spent two years studying mishpat ivri in Israel
at Hebrew University and at Tel Aviv University. He is married
to Shellee Berman, and they have four children.
Rabbi Berman was the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel
in Berkeley, California, from 1963 to 1969. He was an early
leader in the Soviet Jewry movement, and an active participant
in the Civil Rights movement. He was present at the demonstrations
in Selma, Alabama in 1965. From 1969 to 1971, Rabbi Berman
was the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Brookline,
Mass., where he organized the Torah Community Project, a
study centered activist setting for students and young adults
in the Boston area.
In 1971, Rabbi Berman was appointed Chairman of the Department
if Judaic Studies of Stern College for Women of Yeshiva
University. Under his leadership over the next thirteen
years, it grew into the largest undergraduate Department
of Jewish Studies in the United States. Focused on the study
of original texts and the acquisition of independent learning
skills by women, the program at Stern College impacted on
Yeshiva High School education as well as the surge of Yeshivot
in Israel serving American women students.
In 1984, Rabbi Berman accepted the position as Senior Rabbi
of Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, where he served
until 1990. During those years, he spearheaded an expansion
of the adult education program, the creation of an extensive
social action program based on halachik commitments, the
growth of the Synagogue's Women's Tefillah Group, and the
creation of new outreach programs to the unaffiliated.
In 1990, Rabbi Berman returned to academic life, as Associate
Professor of Jewish Studies at Stern College, and as an
adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of Law,
where he teaches a seminar in Jewish Law. From 1995 to 1997,
he served as Scholar in Residence at the JCC on the Palisades
in New Jersey. In 1997, Rabbi Berman became Director of
Edah, a new organization devoted to the invigoration of
modern Orthodox ideology and religious life.
Rabbi Berman is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Judaica
and is the author of numerous articles which have been published
in journals such as Tradition, Judaism, Journal of Jewish
Studies, Dinei Yisrael, and many others. His writings on
the subject of women in halachah and on issues of halachah
and comtemporary society have often been reprinted.
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