Reuven Hammer (born 1933, Syracuse, New York) is a Conservative rabbi, scholar of Jewish liturgy, author and lecturer. He is a founder of the "Masorti" (Conservative) movement in Israel and a past president of the International Rabbinical Assembly. He served many years as head of the Masorti Beth Din in Israel. A prolific writer in both the Israeli and international press, he is a regular columnist for The Jerusalem Post's "Tradition Today" column. He lives in Jerusalem.
As president of the 1,500-member Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement in Israel, Hammer authored the movement's official commentary on the prayer book, Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, published in March 2003. This work contains the complete text of Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and festivals, surrounded by a comprehensive commentary. The page layout loosely resembles that of the Talmud. In 2008 Rabbi Hammer, also authored the commentary for Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays.
Hammer's Torah scholarship is diametrically opposed to that of Haredi Judaism, which bases its understanding on classic Midrashim and Torah commentators. Unlike Maimonides, who stressed knowledge over faith, Hammer stresses faith over knowledge, stating, "It is belief and not reason that will determine what one thinks (about what the Bible says and how to behave)".
Honors and awards
In 2003 Hammer was named to the Forward 50 as one of the most influential Jews in the American Jewish community for his achievements as president of the Rabbinical Assembly. That same year, he received the Simon Greenberg Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Rabbinate by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University).
His books Sifre: A Taanaitic commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy (1986) and Entering the High Holy Days: A guide to origins, themes, and prayers (2005) were awarded the National Jewish Book Award as the best book of scholarship for their respective years.
- The Other Child in Jewish Education: A handbook on learning disabilities. United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Education. 1979.
- Sifre: A Tannaitic commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy. Yale University Press. 1986. ISBN 0-300-03345-1.
- Entering Jewish Prayer: A guide to personal devotion and the worship service. Schocken Books. 1995. ISBN 0-8052-1022-9.
- The Classic Midrash: Tannaitic Commentaries on the Bible. Paulist Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-8091-3503-5.
- The Jerusalem Anthology: A literary guide. Jewish Publication Society. 1995. ISBN 0-8276-0551-X.
- Entering the High Holy Days: A guide to origins, themes, and prayers. Jewish Publication Society of America. 2005. ISBN 0-8276-0821-7.
- Or Ḥadash: A commentary on Sidur Śim Shalom le-ḥol. Rabbinical Assembly. 2008. ISBN 0-916219-38-0. (with Jules Harlow, Harold Kushner, and Avram Israel Reisner)
- Entering Torah: Prefaces to the weekly Torah portion. Gefen Publishing House. 2009. ISBN 965-229-434-9.
The Torah Revolution:Fourteen Truths That Changed The World, Jewish Lights, 2011
- Rushkoff, Donald (12 November 2002). "FORWARD 50: Growing Clarity, Sharpening Debate". rushkoff.com. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Rabbi Dr. Reuven Hammer". New London Synagogue. 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Articles by Rabbi Dr. Reuven Hammer". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Drazin, Israel (6 July 2009). "Review of 'Entering Torah: Prefaces to the Weekly Torah Portion'". The Jewish Eye. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Hammer, Reuven (15 May 2009). "The Pope and I". Haaretz. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Reuven Hammer". Random House. 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.