Binyamin Lau

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Rav Dr. Benny Lau
Position Rosh Yeshiva
Yeshiva Beit Midrash for Social Justice at Beit Morasha
Position Director
Organisation Center for Judaism and Society at Beit Morasha
Personal details
Birth name Binyamin Tzvi Lau
Born Tel Aviv, Israel
Nationality  Israel
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Jerusalem, Israel
Occupation Rabbi, community leader

Binyamin Tzvi (Benny) Lau, (born October 20, 1961, Tel Aviv) is an Israeli rabbi, community leader, activist, author and public speaker who lives in Jerusalem. He is also the head of the Human Rights and Judaism in Action Project at the Israel Democracy Institute.[1] Previously, he was the director of a number of programs at Beit Morasha in Jerusalem including their Center for Judaism and Society, their Institute for Social Justice and their Israel Institute for Conversion Policy.[2] He is also a well-known writer and makes frequent appearances in the media.

Biography[edit]

Lau was born in Tel Aviv to Naftali Lau-Lavie, the older brother of former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, and Joan (née Lunzer).[3] Lau's mother was born in England to a prominent family known for preserving the legacy and school of thought of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. Lau's brother Amichai Lau-Lavie founded Storahtelling, a NYC based Jewish ritual theater company.

Lau grew up in Ramat Gan and was a student in the Segula School in Bnei Brak. Afterwards, he learned in the Netiv Meir High School in Jerusalem, and participated in the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement. After he completed his high school studies, he went on to learn in Yeshivat Har Etzion, and was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces in the Golani Brigade.[3]

Lau teaches at Beit Morasha in Jerusalem, and serves as the head of the Beit Midrash program, alongside Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Brandes. In 2000, he established the Beit Midrash for Women at Beit Morasha and led that program for five years.[4]

In 2000, Lau moved to Jerusalem and has been serving as the community rabbi at the Ramban synagougue in the neighborhood of Katamon since 2002.[5]

In 2005, he established the Beit Midrash for Social Justice together with the organization B’Maaglei Tzedek, a non-profit organization that he helped establish, with the goal to imbibe issues in Israeli society into Torah learning. He also publishes extensively in national newspapers, scholarly journals, weekly Shabbat pamphlets, and has authored numerous books.

During the years 2007-2009, Lau had a Friday column in the Culture and Literature section of Ha’Aretz newspaper. He appears every Friday on Israel’s Channel 1 TV on a program for the weekly portion of the Torah, together with Avi Raht. He also frequently appears on interviews in the media.

Lau lectures widely on halakha and social justice [6] at Beit Morasha's Beren College, and still serves as the rabbi of the Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem.

Published works[edit]

References[edit]