Rabbi Yehuda Gilad
Rav Gilad holds a bold Jewish world-view that embraces human rights and personal dignity. Raised in Petah Tikvah, he studied in Israel’s finest yeshivot, including HaYishuv HeChadash in Tel Aviv, Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem and Yeshivat Har Etzion in Gush Etzion. While enrolled at Yeshivat Har Etzion, he served as a combat soldier in the Armored Corps rising to the rank of Captain. After completing his army service he earned his Teacher’s Certificate from the Yitzchak Herzog Teachers College and Rabbinical Ordination from the Chief Rabbinate.
Out of a belief that the Israeli army is the most unifying force in Israeli society, Rav Gilad returned to the professional army as a Chaplain. In this role, he stressed his availability to all soldiers and through his hard work and highly personal style, many soldiers from all backgrounds came to see traditional Judaism as a source of strength, comfort and inspiration.
Since 1983, Rav Gilad has served as rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi. In addition to fulfilling the many facets of this role within the Lavi community, he consistently offers his services to all neighboring settlements, such that many people today see in him a symbol of the just, moral face of Torah to the entire Lower Galilee region. In 1993, he founded Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa, where he continues to be Rosh Yeshiva. Committed to the idea that yeshiva students should not take advantage of Torah study to avoid civic duties, students serve a full, three-year military service as part of their five-year program.
Rav Gilad is a national spokesman for the morally sensitive in the religious community and has earned recognition for his outspoken views and grassroots activism in promoting a Jewish and a democratic state —one without contradiction and without coercion from the religious establishment.
In June 2002, Rav Gilad became a Member of the Israeli Knesset where he served on the Education and Labor and Welfare Committees. He also is an architect and campaigner for the Kinneret Declaration.
While busily involved in pressing social issues he remains a committed educator who believes that an intellectually honest, religious society must be built upon devotion to Torah and openness.