Daniel Gordis

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Daniel Gordis (born 1959) is an American-born Israeli author and speaker, whom the Jerusalem Post listed as one of the fifty most influential Jews in the world. He is Senior Vice President and Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem, where he is also Chair of the Core Curriculum. The author of a dozen books on Judaism and Israel, and twice awarded the National Jewish Book Award (including Book of the Year for his history of Israel), he was once recognized as a leading Conservative rabbi, but is no longer publicly associated with that movement. Slightly left of center when he arrived in Israel in 1998, his writings suggest a gradual move to the right. Most people now consider him a moderate conservative.


Daniel Gordis was born on July 5, 1959, in New York City, but was raised in Baltimore where he attended public high school. He studied Political Science at Columbia University, and received a master's degree and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Gordis and his wife moved to California in 1984, and while there, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He immigrated to Israel in 1998. From 1998 to 2007, he worked at the Mandel Foundation and the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem. He joined the Shalem Center in 2007 as Senior Vice President and Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College.[1]

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic has written, "If you asked me, 'of all the people you know, who cares the most about the physical, moral and spiritual health of Israel?' I would put the commentator and scholar Daniel Gordis at the top of the list.".[2] The Forward has called Gordis "one of the most influential Israel analysts around."

Gordis has been critical of American rabbis who criticize Israeli government policies, saying that they no longer affiliate sufficiently with Israel or the Jewish people. He has written specifically about Rabbis Sharon Brous and Jill Jacobs in this light. He has also extended this assessment to rabbinical seminaries and their students.[3]

Academic career[edit]

While living in Los Angeles, Gordis worked at the University of Judaism for almost fifteen years, and was the founding Dean of its Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the first rabbinical college on the West Coast of the United States. He and his family moved to Israel in 1998. In 2007, after nine years as vice president of the Mandel Foundation and director of its Leadership Institute, Gordis joined the Shalem Center to join the team founding Israel's first liberal arts college.

Gordis has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Moment, Tikkun, the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and Conservative Judaism. He is now a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post, for which he writes a regular column called "A Dose of Nuance," and for Bloomberg View.

Published works[edit]


The book won the 2009 National Jewish Book Award under the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice category.[4]

The book has been called by UK-based freelance writer and critic Stephen Daisely "the gold standard text in Begin studies".[5] Critics beg to disagree, such as Samuel Thrope who writes "The book is a paragon of overweening pride: smug, self-satisfied, convinced of its own conclusions, and disdainful of its presumed critics" and that the "black-and-white picture of [Ben-Gurion and Begin] is a caricature that does not do justice to either figure."[6]



Gordis participated in the documentary film Indestructible about a man suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which he discussed theological explanations for human suffering.[7][8]


  1. ^ "About". danielgordis.org. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg, "On Not Giving Fire Trucks to the JNF", The Atlantic, 7 December 2010
  3. ^ http://jewishjournal.com/cover_story/110746/
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Stephen Daisely: "The Most Jewish PM", review of Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel's Soul in Commentary April 2014.
  6. ^ Samuel Thrope (7 March 2014). "Daniel Gordis' Begin biography teaches liberals and leftists can't be trusted". Haaretz. Retrieved 18 April 2015.  -- OR try this [full text] URL: http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-1.578340?trailingPath=2.169%2C2.216%2C2.218%2C
  7. ^ http://www.indestructiblefilm.com/images/Indestructible_press_kit.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993762/

External links[edit]