The Eliezer Society (formerly the Chai Society) is a Jewish membership society at Yale University. Founded in 1996 by then-graduate-students Oliver Benjamin Karp, Noah Feldman, Cory Booker, and Michael Alexander and Rabbi Shmully Hecht, the society aims to attract Jewish and non-Jewish leaders on Yale's campus in order to create a dialogue between various branches of Judaism and between the secular and religious worlds in an intellectual salon setting. It boasts a diverse membership of Yale students, alumni, and current and former faculty, including former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, New York Times critic-at-large Edward Rothstein, and now-Senator Booker.
Guests, speakers, and scholars in residence at Eliezer (both affiliated and unaffiliated with Yale) have included Alan Dershowitz, Aharon Barak, Ehud Barak, Guido Calabresi, Thomas B. Griffith, Jerry Springer, Will Eisner, Sherwin Nuland, Jack Balkin, Donna Dubinsky, Senator Joe Lieberman, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Reuben Greenberg, Larry Coben, David Hazony, Eric Alterman, Charles Grodin, Elliott Gould, Leslie Epstein, Peter Salovey, and Philip Weiss. The organization has also created a video archive of interviews with prominent Jewish alumni of Yale, including many of the guests listed above as well as Stephen A. Schwarzman and Henry Winkler, among others.
In 2006, the trustees of the Chai Society, Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports the activities of the society, legally changed its name to Eliezer, Inc., in homage to the meaning of the Hebrew name "Eliezer" ("My God will help") and the Yale-associated nickname "Eli" (derived from Elihu Yale).
- Dan A. Oren, Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale, second edition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.
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